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No Power in My Bathroom: GFCI Outlet


las vegas handymanThis is one of the most common calls I get as a Las Vegas handyman, and it really is difficult to get people to believe that they can solve this problem by themselves. Typically, all you need is your index finger.

There are safety features in your home's electrical system. If you have electrical outlets near wet locations (bathrooms, kitchen, garage, exterior of the house), you should have Ground Fault Protection.

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a safety tool that protects against electrical shock caused by a faulty plug, cord or appliance. It senses small changes in electrical current and can shut off the power faster than you can blink your eyes. But all kidding aside, a GFCI could save you from a potentially deadly shock.

The GFCI receptacle has two buttons in the middle to periodically test that it is functioning properly. One button is labeled "test" and the other is labeled "reset." When you press the test button, the power to that receptacle should shut off immediately. To restore the power, depress the reset button. The power to additional receptacles may also shut off if they are downstream of the GFCI, that is, if they receive their power from that particular GFCI. In this case, those additional outlets should be labeled "GFCI protected outlet," but this is not always the case.

So, the fix here is to reset the GFCI outlet by depressing the "reset" button. Realize that the GFCI outlet in question may not even be located in the bathroom, but rather in the garage, the kitchen, on an exterior wall, etc...so look around until you find it.

You may have GFCI protection even though you don't see a GFCI outlet. In your home's main electrical panel, there may be a GFCI circuit breaker. This breaker has a test switch on it to ensure that the outlets in the circuit are operating properly. If this is the case at your home, the circuit breaker will trip to a middle position. Just turn it off and then turn it back on.

You will have to figure out why the GFCI outlet tripped. You may want to unplug whatever you have plugged in to the circuit and then eliminate possible sources.


Ok handyman, so what if my GFCI outlet keeps resetting? What is wrong with it? I already changed it for a new one and no luck.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 19, 2010 10:08 PM by EC
The GFCI may be operating correctly. Maybe something you have plugged into the circuit is causing it to trip. We typically see this with hair dryers or cel phone charges that may have a short in it. Try unplugging everything on the circuit and then try to reset the outlet.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 20, 2010 5:33 PM by Mike Klimek
The red reset button will not stay . 
The electrical problem with the outlets is only 
in the bathrooms. 
all circut breakers are on. 
Posted @ Monday, July 05, 2010 12:02 PM by bruce
What if you don't have that little red reset button on your outlets in the bathroom? My outlets don't work but they don't have the reset buttons.
Posted @ Thursday, August 12, 2010 6:58 AM by Suzanne
Go to your main electrical panel and look for a GFCI breaker (this is often put in place of a GFCI outlet). This breaker will have a reset button on it. Try pressing the button and resetting it.
Posted @ Thursday, August 12, 2010 10:15 AM by Mike Klimek
I am stumped. Ive tried everything. Up stairs I have two bathrooms that the "GFI" outlets will not work. House is only 10 years old and does not have a GFCI switch with the little buttoons on it. However. How do I trace where the GFI breaker is. I,ve checked the electrical breaker box outside and changed the 20 amp breaker labled "gfi switches" just to be safe. All of my down stairs GFI switches work. Including the one in my gargage. What should I check next? 
Posted @ Sunday, December 26, 2010 10:39 AM by sLICK rICK
Ok, I have an outlet that isn't working. It does not have the gfci on it and I have checked the breakers, nothing has tripped. Do I need to open this outlet and check wiring? If so, what do I check?
Posted @ Sunday, September 11, 2011 9:53 AM by jtaajk
OK i have searched everywhere i have to ask you.I accidentally got water into an outdoor outlet and now my bathroom doesn't work the lights wont turn on please tell me there is a way to fix it without calling an electrition. Oh yeah my water heater is near the bathroom i do not know if its been turned off either Please HELP.
Posted @ Saturday, September 24, 2011 12:37 AM by Chris
i have several gfci outlet that when i put a plug tester in..it says its perfectly fine...but if i plug anything into the outlet..theres no power...my gfci outlets have a green light also to show theyre working...but still nothing works when plugged in? thanks
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 11:31 PM by wayne sweeten
I have a GFCI outlet under kitchen sink. the load circuit powers the disposal and a water heater plugs into the outlet. It quit working. The CB is OK but no power is on the line to the GCFI
Posted @ Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:36 PM by ROLAND WOLFE
Hey Mr. handyman i have unplugged everything from the plug and i hit pressed down the reset button but every time i do the little orange light goes off also when i try and turn on the bathroom lights they will not turn on but the orange light turns off. Its the same result if i was to plug in the washing machine and try and turn it on.
Posted @ Sunday, August 05, 2012 11:30 PM by jared
What do I do if the TEST button cannot be depressed. In my basement I have an outlet with test and reset but I cannot depress the test button. When I press the rest button there is a spark and the test button flashes on then off. I
Posted @ Saturday, December 08, 2012 10:04 AM by TD
What if the main breaker for bath gfi does not want to stay in the on position?
Posted @ Sunday, March 17, 2013 9:11 AM by Nooris
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