How to Reset an Electrical Receptacle

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Resetting an electrical receptacle, better known as an electrical outlet, will restore power to the outlet. Most homes have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets that trip to prevent electrocution in the event of a ground fault. When the GFCI outlet is tripped, you must reset it so the outlet will provide electricity again. There are times when resetting a GFCI will not restore electricity to the receptacle. If that's the case, you will need to check the electrical circuit to find the cause of the problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Lamp
  • Press the "Reset" button on the GFCI outlet. Press it with your finger until it is all the way down and clicks into place. Plug in a corded lamp to test the outlet to see if the power is restored to the outlet. If the lamp turns on then you have successfully reset the GFCI outlet.

  • Press the "Test" button on the GFCI outlet. When you push the "Test" button the "Reset" button will pop out. If the "Reset" button does not pop out, the GFCI outlet is defective and you will have to replace it. If the "Reset" button pops out, press it down and test the outlet with the lamp. If the lamp works, the outlet has been reset.

  • Locate any other GFCI outlet in the room. Most rooms will only have one GFCI outlet but on rare occasions you might find more than one. If you find another GFCI outlet, press down on its "Reset" button. Test the lamp on the original GFCI outlet that is not turning on. If the lamp turns on, the GFCI has been reset.

  • Open the circuit breaker panel. Turn off the circuit breaker to the room with the GFCI outlet that you need to reset. Leave the circuit breaker in the "Off" position for about one minute before turning on the circuit breaker again. Plug in the lamp and test the outlet to make sure it has been reset.

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