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How to Repair a GFI Outlet Circuit
©Copyright Dave Rongey - Summary:
The Process to Troubleshoot and Repair GFCI Outlet Circuit Wiring: How to Test a GFI Circuit, Incoming Power Source: The LINE, Outgoing Power Source: The Load, Checking the Circuit Polarity, GFCI and GFI Wiring Diagrams.
Steps for Testing a GFCI Outlet Circuit
Electrical Question: I have a problem with the GFCI circuits in my home.
- The end of the GFCI line is in the garage and before that the bathroom which joins the garage. I cannot get power to either.
- The line coming out of my panel leads to a GFCI outlet, about one foot away.
- There’s power coming out of the “load” line.
- Here’s the problem, sometimes I do get power to both outlets in the bath and garage, then, when I plug in a device (lead light) in the garage the light goes on initially then dims and goes out. Then I got no power to the bath or the garage.
- Power is still on coming out of the GFCI outlet next to the panel box.
- Fearing there might be a wiring problem, maybe to a switch, I’ve turned all switches in the house on and that doesn’t connect.
Now, I know you’re good, but should I contact Sherlock Holmes?
Thank you for your advice.
This electrical wiring question came from: Jerry, in NY, New York.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Jerry.
The Process to Troubleshoot and Repair GFCI Outlet Circuit Wiring
- Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
- Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools a Voltage Tester or Plug-In Circuit Analyzer.
- Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools, the extent of the electrical repairs, the number of outlets that are affected and access to each location.
- Precaution: Identify the GFCI outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
How to Test a GFI Circuit
When the GFI circuit seems to be partially working or not working at all here are some things to double check to get the GFCI working again.
- Check for Loose Wires
Make sure there are no loose wires within the circuit, especially the white neutral wire.
- Incoming Power Source: The LINE
Make sure the incoming power source to the GFCI outlet are attached to the LINE side as indicated on the back of the receptacle.
- Outgoing Power Source: The Load
Make sure the outgoing circuit wiring is connected to the LOAD side of the GFCI Outlet.
- LINE and LOAD Wiring
Both the black and white wires must be connected separately into the appropriate terminals of the LINE and the LOAD side of the GFCI Outlet or GFI Receptacle.
- A Bad GFI
If the wiring connections are correct and the circuit voltage is normal then the GFCI outlet may be faulty and should be replaced.
- Checking the Circuit Polarity
The integrity of the GFI circuit wiring may be tested for voltage by temporarily removing the GFCI outlet and splicing the wires through and then testing the voltage and polarity at each receptacle outlet of the same circuit. If the voltage readings and polarity test is normal then the GFCI is faulty or the connections to the GFCI were incorrect.
- Plug-In Circuit Analyzer
A plug in circuit analyzer will be helpful to determine the correct wiring of the circuit and help detect circuit faults.
Note about Ground Fault Circuit Interruption
Both GFI and GFCI are basically the same and both provide protection against ground faults by interrupting the electrical circuit by sensing voltage that passes to a ground source.
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