How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?
Sunday, September 9, 2018
It could be any one of a number of problems, but the most likely one is that a GFCI-receptacle has tripped at another location in the home. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and a GFCI-receptacle has two push-buttons between the top and bottom plug, like in the photo below. The bottom one is a test button and trips the device, cutting of the circuit, while the top button is the reset.
A GFCI is designed to trip when it recognizes that some the electricity leaving the receptacle is not returning back, and someone could be getting shocked or even electrocuted because of it. All receptacles in wet locations such as kitchens, bathrooms, garage, and exterior are required to be GFCI-protected. Because the first receptacle in a string of them running around the home will protect all the ones downstream if it is a GFCI, builders put a GFCI-receptacle in one bathroom, for example, and it protects receptacles in other bathrooms around the house that do not have the push-buttons.
Sometimes a GFCI-receptacle in the garage will protect all the bathrooms in a home. So go around your home looking for GFCI-receptacles to see if the top button is popped out. If so, then push it in to reset the GFCI-device and open the circuit and you may—possibly, just possibly—have solved your dead bathroom receptacle mystery.
Also, see our blog posts Are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) really necessary and worth the trouble? and What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) NOT protect against?
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about AFCI and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS:
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