GFCI tester tripped

Just plugged into an exterior outlet with my tester, pressed the test button and power went off. Went on to two other outlets at exterior deck, both were dead. looked all over the house trying to find a tripped GFCI receptacle to reset, none found. Looked at panel, standard breaker that read “3 exterior outlets” was not tripped, turned it off and back on, still no power to outlets. Later in inspection, I tested a basement outlet that was live, tester shut power off. this outlet was a few feet from one of the deck outlets and only one cable run to it coming from the direction of the deck outlet (end of the run).
Does this indicate that there is a problem with the ground somewhere in this circuit?
How should this be reported other then “Call an electrician”?
Is it a major problem and how is it found and repaired?
Any ideas guys?

It’s usually a good idea to verify the location of the GFCI device BEFORE tripping it.

It sounds like you were just unable to find it…

I only test with the button on the outlet.

Look behind the refrigerator in the garage that the light suddenly stopped working. :wink: the one that has half a cow and 40 lbs of grouper filets and tuna steaks in the freezer:mrgreen:

Oh your in MI that would be 40 lbs of walleye and salmon;)

Was just stopping by and figured I would make a rare visit and answer your question.

  1. There is no problem testing a device with an accessory device as long as you correctly validate the GFCI Device is working from the test button on the unit itself.
  2. Nothing that you express tells me (An Electrician) that there is a problem with the ground anyway. In fact, it tells me that their is a GFCI Device located somewhere on the premise that you need to find or report that it was tripped and unable to locate.
  3. Obviously you are not able to test the other receptacles due to tripping the first GFCI protected device so make sure you denote that on your report if you are not going to find it.
  4. If the home your are inspecting is occupied and does have refrigerators and freezers that you think (since you really don’t know) may be on the affected circuit…validate they are still working before you leave the inspection.
  5. Contact the realtor or owner to inform them of issue, see if they know where the reset may be and to move your liability on to additional sources.

You can’t assume that the outdoor receptacles, which are labeled in the panel as such, also include the basement receptacle simply due to the direction of the cable supply…you must verify or denote otherwise.

Also was the receptacle in the basement denoted in the electrical panel? Also since you removed power by shutting off the CB in the panel to the exterior receptacles, did you re-check the basement receptacle to validate it was on that circuit…as you stated the basement receptacle still had power…in confirming it may be on the exterior receptacles circuit due to your belief in the direction of the cable in relation to the exterior outlets…turning off that CB labeled “three exterior outlets” would have answered that question.

At the end of the day…denote clearly what you did not get a chance to inspect, inform them of the circuit being now tripped and that someone more familiar with the location will need to find it and agree to re-check the previously dead exterior circuits if they request that option.

Just some of my thoughts on it…now off to work.


Paul, your thoughts and comments are always welcome. I for one thank you for all you share with us.

Me too.

Yes I agree.
Good to see you on here Paul.

Always a pleasure to hear from Paul’s expertise.

Thanks Paul and others for your responses.
So, if you want to confirm that all required outlets are GFCI protected, one would first look for a GFI receptacle, push the test button and if tripped, continue on to other regular receptacles that should also be protected to see if they have no power to them. If not, assume they are fed off the GFI you tripped, go back there, press the reset button then go back and confirm the power is back on to those outlets. If one is still dead, make a side note and repeat the process with any other GFCI receptacles you run across until you confirm the status of all outlets that should have this protection and note which GFCI receptacle will reset which protected outlets so the client knows where to reset it.
I will adjust my process accordingly!!

Paul, welcome back, missed your thoughts and comments :smiley:

I like to check the button, but I use my tester on the downstream " this outlet GFI protected" outlets.

Are you referring to the stickers on protected devices? I often wonder if anyone actually installs them when an EGC exists. It would make things easier if they’re actually installed. :slight_smile: