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Jason
Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3848
Experience:  Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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The outlets in all my bathrooms are dead. I checked my circuit

Resolved Question:

The outlets in all my bathrooms are 'dead'. I checked my circuit breaker panenl and the GFCI is in the ON position. I tried to move it right to the off position, but it does not move past the center position. The TEST button next to this GFCI breaker does not do anything when I press it. What problem does this indicate or suggest?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Jason :

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Jason :

Do you have a volt meter with two leads and a digital display?

Customer:

Yes, if it still works. I haven't used it for several years.

Jason :

I would be happy to stand by while you check. In the mean time, can you tell me if you are able to get the GFI breaker into the ON position? If so, does pushing the TEST button get no reaction from the breaker?

Customer:

It's in the ON position, but it seems like it is not really locked in this position, like the other normal circuit breakers. Pressing the TEST button does nothing.

Jason :

This does sound like a problem with the breaker at this point. Can you get the breaker to go into the OFF position?

Customer:

It appears that you did not receive my response to your question. I'll say it again. The GFI breaker is in the ON position, but it does not seem to be locked in tight, like a normal circuit breaker. Pushing the TEST button does nothing.

Jason :

OK, I did get that reply and I responded. Perhaps my post didn't show up for some reason. Are you able to see this text?

Jason :

I just switched to a different browser. Are you able to see this reply?

Customer:

Also, when I try to push the GFI breaker all the way to the right (normal off position), it will not move past the half-way point, no matter how hard I push on it.

Jason :

Can you make sure nothing is plugged in to any of the outlets that breaker feeds? Then, loosen the screw that has the black wire connected to it. Find another breaker with the same amperage rating, and temporarily disconnect the black wire from it and push that wire aside.

Jason :

Connect the black wire that had been connected to the GFI breaker to the standard breaker, and turn the standard breaker back on. Then, test for power at the outlets that had been dead.

Jason :

Please let me know if they work. If they do, I would replace the GFI breaker.

Customer:

I unplugged everything that was plugged into the wall outlets in the 3 bathrooms. What black wire are to you referring to?

Jason :

The black wire (or, it could be red) that is connected to the GFI breaker. We need to temporarily move that wire to a different breaker, to see if we can get power to the bathroom outlets.

Jason :

IMPORTANT - please do not use the outlets with a standard breaker powering them. This would be very dangerous, and I am only suggesting it as a test to see if the breaker is faulty.

Customer:

It sounds like you are telling me to remove the 4 screws holding the circuit beaker housing, then pull off from the wall, and then look at the exposed GFCI circuit breaker. This sounds pretty dangerous to me, especially when I start taking off ant wires.

Jason :

No, not more than one wire. However, if you are uncomfortable working in a live electrical panel, you should probably call in a professional. When you said you had a volt meter, I assumed you had some experience working around energized wires. Are you able to post photos here? If so, can you post a picture of the GFI breaker in question?

Customer:

I don't see any indication that photos can be attached to this chat session.

Jason :

There should be a toolbar somewhere on your screen. If you save photos to your computer, and then click the paper clip icon, that will allow you to upload pictures.

Customer:

I do see a PAPERCLIP image, and that may do the job. However, we are spending a lot of your time on this, so maybe it would be best if I called-in an electrician. Please keep my $15 deposit. Thanks for your efforts!

Jason :

It's okay to spend as much of my time as needed. I'm here to help. However, this will likely involve moving wires and replacing breakers. If by saying "Please keep my $15 deposit", you are indicating you want to pay for my time... your rating of my service is required in order for me to be paid. Anything lower than "OK Service" will not result in me being paid. I am happy to continue as long as you would like.

Customer:

I'm running out of time this afternoon, and tomorrow is a very busy day for me, so I think it may be best for us to not do anything else. Your efforts have been very timely and helpful, even though I have to give up at this point. I will rate this chat session as GOOD SERVICE, so you get paid for your time. Thanks Jason!

Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3848
Experience: Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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