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Rick, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 467
Experience:  10 yrs as a electrician. Have my own company.
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I was testing a GFI outlet by pushing the reset button. It

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I was testing a GFI outlet by pushing the reset button. It was working before I tested it. When I pushed the test button, it stopped working, i.e., it would not reset. When I now push the reset button, I see a very short burst of the yellow light (which normally comes on when you push the test button) but the yellow light won't stay on. The digital multimeter reads around 5v. The non-GFI outlet near this one is dead also and reads around 5v. I have an inside and outside breaker box; no breakers are tripped. The bad GFI outlet is in the lower level of our house. The outlets directly above it on the 1st floor are not working either. I took off the face plate and tested the silver and gold screws; still got around 5v. Questions: Could this be a bad GFI device? If it is, why are the other outlets not working? Why is there still voltage reading on the DMM? Why are no breakers tripped?


Rick :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm here to answer any of your electrical questions.

Rick :

Yes, this is more than likely a bad GFCI some are designed to not turn back on once they have gone bad. The rest of the receptacles will not work because they are on the load side of the GFCI. Make sure you replace the wires exactly the way they are on the old one. Label which wires are on the line side and which are on the load side. Make sure you turn the power off before working with the wires. If you miswire the GFI it will not work.


Thanks. What I suspected. Will the breaker shut off all the outlets on this circuit? Should the DMM show 0 volts when the breaker is off? Why is it showing 5v now?

Rick :

Some meter show ghost voltage so if the meter is just bouncing numbers around, it's probably ghost voltage.

Rick :

You can make sure it's the GFCI by taking the wires off of the GFCI (after labeling) put the blacks wih blacks with a wire nut, the whites to whites. Test your other outlets and everything should be ok

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