A GFCI-receptacle right out of the box is tripped, and will not reset and function until it is wired correctly and the power turned back on. The reset button won't work and the receptacle remains dead, even though the wiring to it is live.
You need to connect the black (hot) wires to the brass screws and white (neutral) wires to the silver screws. Also, be sure to mark which pair of wires are LINE and which are LOAD before removing them from the old receptacle. The LINE wires bring the electrcity to the receptacle and the LOAD wires connect to another receptacle downstream in the circuit. If there are no other receptacles on the circuit, then it will only have two LINE wires
And this is important: it’s not enough to just mark the top two wires in the old receptacle and place them in the top position in the replacement, because some manufacturers put the LINE set on top, and others put the LINE set on the bottom. If you just match top and bottom wire sets, you may get it wrong.
Here’s an example below of two GFCI’s from different manufacturers that look similar from the front, with ground hole on bottom, but must be wired differently in back.
If your old GFCI failed due to a problem elsewhere in the circuit, rather than simply a failed GFCI-device, then further troubleshooting is necessary. Also, always turn off the breaker to the circuit before attempting any receptacle replacement, and don’t tackle this work yourself unless trained in elctrical wiring and safety
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about AFCI and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS:
• Does a septic pump or sump pump require a GFCI-receptacle?
• What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?
• Are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) really necessary and worth the trouble?
• What is the code requirement for GFCI protection for receptacles near a wet bar sink?
• When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required?
• When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required?
• Does a washing machine receptacle outlet require GFCI protection?
• My spa tub stopped working. What's wrong?
• How do I identify a combination AFCI (CAFCI) circuit breaker?
• What does "listed and labeled" mean for an electrical component?
• What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) NOT protect against?
• What is the difference between GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers?
• Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required?
• When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?
• What happens when you press the "TEST" button on a circuit breaker in an electric panel?
• What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home?
• Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?
• What is a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter (DFCI)?
• How I can tell if a receptacle outlet is tamper resistant?
• What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?
• What is the difference between "grounded" and "grounding" electrical conductors?
• What does it mean when a wire is "overstripped" at a circuit breaker?
• Why is there a GFCI breaker in the electric panel for the bathroom shower light and exhaust fan?
• What is the switch on the wall with two pushbuttons?
• How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be spaced?
• How far above a kitchen countertop do electrical outlets have to be?
• How is it possible to provide both GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) and CAFCI (Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection for kitchen and laundry circuits?
• My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?
• My GFCI reset button is hard to push and won't reset. What's wrong?
• Why do some breakers in my electric panel have a "TEST" button on them?
Visit our AFCI AND GFCI page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.