Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) are designed to shut off an electrical current in the event of a ground fault.
With proper installation and maintenance, you and your household will be protected from electrocution—GFCIs are designed to trip nearly instantly.
Once these outlets trip, they need to be reset manually to deliver power once again.
After serving its purpose of saving you and your home from electric overload, you might notice that your GFCI outlet won’t reset.
There are a few reasons for a malfunctioning GFCI, especially if it was tripped due to exposure to moisture.
If you’re wondering why your GFCI is not resetting after rain, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to know more about what happens if an outlet gets wet and how to deal with it.
Why Won’t My GFCI Reset?
There are many possible reasons why your GFCI is not resetting, including wear and tear, corrosion in its internal systems, incorrect wiring, and so on.
If you experience a power cut because of a heavy rainstorm, chances are that the GFCI is not resetting because of the lack of electricity.
Just wait for the power to come back on, restart your circuit breaker, and then try resetting your GFCI.
But if the outlet had been working perfectly well before the downpour, the malfunction is likely due to moisture.
GFCI outlets installed outdoors are usually protected by waterproof boxes and covers meant to keep water away.
However, heavy rains may bypass this system, leading to the GFCI tripping.
And when water gets inside the box, a tripped GFCI in a wet location will not reset because of lingering moisture on and around the outlet.
If your GFCI outlet has gotten wet, it’s best to let it dry thoroughly before attempting a fix or a reset.
Do not get close to a wet outlet, as it may lead to electrocution.
I’ve put together a list of step-by-step instructions and tips on how to dry out a GFCI outlet effectively, as well as measures you can take to prevent it from happening again.
What to Do if GFCI Won’t Reset After Rain
Once you’ve determined that the outlet is wet, the next question is how to dry out the GFCI outlet.
Always follow safety measures when handling electrical appliances. Wear protective gear, such as safety goggles and gloves.
Step 1: Check Other Outlets Connected to the GFCI Circuit
Before resetting the wet GFCI outlet, check the other outlets on the same circuit.
Turn off and unplug any other appliances connected to this circuit.
Use a voltmeter to confirm whether the outlets are live or not.
Step 2: Turn Off the Circuit Breaker Connected to the GFCI
Turn off the circuit breaker connected to the wet GFCI outlet. This will prevent any electrical accidents as you deal with the GFCI.
If you have more than one breaker in the house, track down the one supplying electricity to the wet outlet.
Step 3: Dry the GFCI Outlet
The simplest way of drying out your GFCI electrical outlet is to use a battery-operated hairdryer.
Begin with the lowest setting and aim for the moist areas.
Don’t put the hair dryer too close to the outlet as the hot air may melt the plastic or the wire insulation.
Dry out every outlet that may have been exposed to moisture.
Step 4: Leave Outlet to Dry Overnight
It’s best to leave a wet location GFCI outlet to dry overnight before turning it on again. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re confident that the GFCI outlet is completely dry, go to the next step.
If you’re still unsure about lingering moisture, consult an electrician before turning on the outlet again.
Step 5: Switch on the Breaker and Reset the GFCI
Turn on the circuit breaker once you’re sure the outlet is dry. Once electricity is flowing again, reset the GFCI unit.
If the GFCI resets without any problem, your issue has been resolved, and you can use the outlet again without worry.
If the GFCI immediately trips after you try to reset it, there may still be a bit of lingering moisture in the outlet.
It is also possible that the outlet has been damaged irreparably, and it must be replaced.
Call in an electrician to look at the outlet and discuss your options.
How to Prevent GFCI from Getting Wet
If your GFCI functions normally after drying out, it’s safe to say that the problem was likely caused by a leak in the electrical boxes or covers that are supposed to protect the outdoor outlet exposed to rain.
Inspect the boxes and confirm that they are adequately sealed to prevent leaks.
You may have to replace these covers with heavy-duty ones that can protect your outlets from heavy downpours.
If you still have trouble, check out how to fix an outdoor outlet that stopped working for more details.
Ground-fault circuit interrupters are meant to keep you, your family, and your home safe from electrical accidents.
They are designed to trip in the event of a ground fault or exposure to moisture.
As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to reset your GFCI once it trips.
If resetting becomes a problem every time it rains, it’s best to call a professional to check your outlets before taking further steps.
Do you have GFCI troubleshooting tips and tricks to share? Let me know!