How to Reset a Gfi Switch

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A GFI outlet is equipped with a breaker switch.
A GFI outlet is equipped with a breaker switch. (Image: electrical outlet image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

A ground fault circuit interrupter, often referred to as a GFCI or GFI, is an outlet that has been equipped with a built-in circuit breaker. For most homes, these are required for outdoor, bathroom, kitchen, garage and crawlspace installations. These should be used anytime an outlet is installed close to water or is likely to be exposed to the elements. When a short occurs in one of the outlets or a circuit protected by the outlet, the breaker switch must be reset before the circuit will supply power to a protected outlet.

Remove electrical plugs from the outlet. If the GFI protects the entire circuit, remove plugs from all affected outlets.

Press the button labeled "Reset." On outlets made for home use, this is usually the red button on the switch.

Replace at least one plug in the outlet and test the appliance.

Tips & Warnings

  • When the reset switch is fully depressed, the test switch should pop out, level with the top of the outlet. If this fails to happen, or if the reset switch does not remain depressed, there may be a fault with the outlet or the wiring.
  • If the reset switch pops out as soon as an appliance is plugged in, do not use the appliance until it has been repaired.
  • Do not attempt to repair or replace any outlet without first turning off the circuit's electrical supply at the main breaker panel.

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