GFCI tested fine, won't reset

Real fun experience today…

I was inspecting a home with some nice newly updated electrical work; good panel setup, 3 prongs with grounds, GFCI’s near water, etc. But when I analyzed the ground line impedance of the bathroom GFCI it tripped (as expected) and won’t restore. :oops: I reset all the GFCI’s in the house figuring it was a downstream outlet (typically the case) but nothing. According to the service panel legend the outlet is on its own circuit. I wonder, did my tester fry the GFCI? That’s the last time I’ll test the ground line impedance!#-o Luckily, the client was the homeowner and is okay about it as long as resolve the problem within a reasonable time. Any insight?

Very well could be the Line and Load are reversed. Since 2003 (I believe) if the lines in and out are reversed the reset will not operate. Designed that way. Easy fix

Doug’s got my vote.
Outlets probably note wired right.

Thanks guys! I have a feeling it was something minor and that makes sense. She said the home was updated about about 6 years ago, sounds like the case. Thank god that didn’t happen on the house of a cranky seller when I was representing the buyer:mrgreen:

Can you explain exactly what you did to test this?

If a newer GFI has no power it will trip but not reset. Could you have unknowingly tripped the breaker?

That has happened to me and it turned out that there was another GFCI upstream that tripped as well. Took me a while to find it.

In my own home the rear exterior GFCI is on the same GFCI in my half bath.

The Exterior wont reset unless the bathroom one is.

If some one inspected my house they would document that the GFCI was inoperable. Unless they where sharp & noted the bathroom being tripped.

I have had numerous complaints about my inspections pertaining to GFCI’s

One home had a refrigerator on a GFCI circuit that it didnt see. They called saying I owed them $500. I ruined there steaks. I settled with $50. I could of fought & said you are not supposed to have a fridge on a GFCI.

Another time & my only BBB claim as of today. I tripped the GFCI in the bathroom and I didnt reset(As so many dont) She claimed I broke it. Didnt even call first & went straight to the BBB. I sent an electrician to fix.

It seems a large % of the levington type doesnt reset after tripping. Most people never test the GFCI & when we test them sometimes they dont trip.

When I first started it was always a challenge to locate where the main GFCI was that controls the exterior, garage, bathrooms.

I always insert the GFCI chart that was provided on the forum in my reports.

Thank you for your time.


I tested the line impedance of the ground line, something I rarely do. It wouldn’t reset after it tripped. I went back to all the other GFCI’s in the house and then tried the breaker. Seems like an issue with the receptacle.

It seems a large % of the levington type doesnt reset after tripping. Most people never test the GFCI & when we test them sometimes they dont trip.


Isn’t nice that we’re obligated to chart such trecherous waters? GFCI’s seem like a HI lawsuit waiting to happen…

Nick - Exactly what did you do in testing the GFI???


What tester did you use and how did you use it to test ground impedance?

Was it a Leviton SmartLock receptacle?



My method madness!
Always test with the Test button on receptacle FIRST, before attempting secondary equipment testing.
Always take a photo of operable garage refer/freezer w/date & time after GFCI testing is completed at end of inspection.

I’ve had to use an extension cord because of a hidden walled over GFCI.

Homeowner called that evening complaining.

My response was, “Sir, you will need to hire an electrician to remedy this defect.” Took electrician over an hour to locate, cut out, coverplate, and remedy.

Just curious, but why would you be testing the ground impedance during a home inspection?

I remember it is a Leviton but don’t know if it is that specific model. Usually when I test GFCI’s with my Ideal SureTest I check the wire configuration, voltage, voltage drop and the line impedence of just the hot and neutral lines. I’ll test the GFCI by pressing the Test button with the tester still plugged into the receptacle. I know it works when the unit loses power.

The house was very small, so I figured I’d try tripping the GFCI’s by testing the ground impedances. That was a dumb idea and I don’t plan on it again. The receptacle appears to have a dedicated breaker.

Blaine you are testing ground impedance when you plug in the SureTest