GFCI not testing properly

Is it just me or other insectors running into this type of situation.

As you all know we are required to test the GFCI’s.

I test the GFCI which has been working (Power only) and then it fails to reset.

Not many people test the GFCI’s.

Twice this week I have had this happen.

Lucily this time the sellers understand and arent making me pay for the repairs.

The one house had both bathrooms on the one GFCI and now they have no power in the bathroom.

Once I had a lady call the BBB on me and that is my only complaint with the BBB. That cost me about $50.

Another time I had the listing agent wanting me to pay $150 for spoiling all the food in the refrigerator(It was on a GFCI circuit) I ended up paying $75 for this one.

So are other inspectors having this issue?

How would your disclaimers cover the issue with the seller being pissed because YOU BROKE the Damm thing!!!

I am only doing my job.



One cause for this (not being to reset the GFCI) is that the line and load lines are reversed. I think since 2003 the manufacturers have built this into the GFCIs to prevent use once the device has been tripped. I don’t know and you didn’t say how old these homes were. One possible explanation. There is always the “failed on testing” disclaimer that some use. Often GFCI receptacles sit for years w/o anyone ever testing them to see if they are functioning as a safety device and they can seize up and not work as intended. People figure as long as whatever is plugged in is working it must be fine. I have had GFCIs not work at first but after tripping and resetting (not in rapid sucession) several times they did then work normally. Hope this helps. Im sure someone will come along and tell me Im full of crap now. Seems to be the trend lately. Hope this helps you.

You’re full of crap Doug :smiley: . Now that we’ve got that out of the way. . .

It may be that there is an additional GFCI upstream that you didn’t locate. That would be my first inclination.

The lock-out type that Doug was referring to, won’t allow the circuit to be reset if it is not wired properly, or if there is no current at the receptacle. However, if it is not wired properly, it would not have worked to begin with (these generally come from the factory in the “tripped” position).

Thanks, I knew someone would help me out on my prediction.:slight_smile:

Even though Doug is full of crap, the standard disclaimer of "failed under normal testing" is what I use as well.


I don’t really think Doug is full of crap. :wink:


This has been a requirement that I have required in some telecom centers that I have been a project manager at. So I know that some GFCI are out there that will not reset if wired incorrectly.

Never caught one wired wrong

I do agree that this MIGHT not be the problem

I will try to get more info for all


That’s what I said (didn’t I?).

If the factory sends it out already set (in the closed position), and it gets wired improperly, it will not reset after testing (it will remain open). Most of these “lock-out” type come from the factory in the open position. If it’s wired improperly, it will never work.

Yep. That’s exactly what happended to me today. Tripped the bathroom one, then couldn’t get it to reset. Luckily, I found one in the garage behind a bookcase. Reset this one, then was able to get the bathroom reset as well. The garage had a fridge full of cold beer. :mrgreen: Thank goodness I found it! (The gfci that is)

I can see it now. Homeowner comes home to find the HI cooling his heels in the garage with numerous empties on the floor around his feet. “Sorry, I had to drink em before they all got hot and turned skunky on ya.”

I don’t think Jeff is full of crap either. :smiley:


Sorry I just can’t read. Wonder what will happen if one were to reset it with the power off at the breaker??

I will have to go play with one sometime.

I had to re-read your post twice - what lead me left of center was the statement that Doug was full of crap – thus his statement that the miswiring could not cause the problem. I knew that part was wrong thus the rest was right. Or something like that.

I know now that what you said is correct (I think) - Doug is not full of crap

Do you have any additional information on this new GFCI?


Sometime a little detective work is needed. I’ve found GFCi outlets in series and you had to reset two before the third was able to be reset. Told the owner about it he said. As long as he knows it didn’t bother him.

What happens when you sell.

“You’re full of crap Doug . Now that we’ve got that out of the way. . .”

Careful, Jeff. This could be a violation of the COE. Defaming another member.

I don’t say that it is, but you never know how one could ‘interpret’ it given the vague writing.

I am not offended by Jeff’s obvious good sense of humor. Lord knows we could use a little more of it around the bb lately. Besides my wife has been known to utter those words albeit under her breath and usually when she thinks I can’t hear her. There will not be any forthcoming tirades or any hobo fits from me. Carry on, smoke if you got em.

Doug, and Jeff;

Don’t get me wrong, please!

I am not suggesting such is the case, only that some could take it that way.

Personally, I would be honored of Jeff said I was full of crap. :mrgreen:

I knew you were kidding, just like I knew Jeff was. No worries. Now, back to work. I am just putting the finishing touches on a report. I took a short break to clear my mind. I did a home on Saturday that defied discription. Five old fuse panels if that gives you a clue. And that was the good part.

During a recent inspection I found a GFCI that was painted to match the colour of the bathroom walls. I plugged in my tester and tripped the GFCI, but because it was painted the reset button would not work.

Oh well not my fault someone painted the darn thing, I wrote it up in the report to be repaired. Catch 22 situation. You don’t know its going to trip so you test it, but only to discover otherwise.

I woud like to clarify something. The ony one full of crap around here is me.:mrgreen:

Thanks for the replies.


lol…relax…he was only teasing him as you can see in dougs original comments…jeff was just giving him a rise…thats all…:slight_smile:

Ok, other than another GFCI that causes a problem, lets get back to the original post.

The same thing has happened to me. The GFCI is 8 years old, probably never been tripped, when I trip it the reset button will not go in or it goes in all the way and does nothing,like the spring is broke? It will not reset.

Now we can say failed under testing and leave both or all three baths without outlets, or what? One time it happened and the male middle aged owner said "no problem, I replaced all the other ones in the house, I’ll do that one when you leave. The second time it happened it was with a elderly hadicapped female owner. I felt lousy leaving her that way and got me wondering how other HI handle this.

In AZ we can not work on an inspected house for two years. Am I supposed to break the rules and replace it and hope she doesn’t call the state on me? Do I just carry a spare GFCI outlet and offer it to her as a sign of peace. If I call in an electrician that can get pretty costly.

You didn’t break it…it was broken already…it just showed its’ state of disrepair under testing…

The same would have happened if all her grandchildren turned their blowdryers on at the same time while here oxygen pump was running…yes?

You just sped up the process and kept it from showing up at 7pm on a saturday nite during Quintuple Service Fee time for electricians…you did her a favor! :wink: