It has been almost a full-time RV life for me for years, and one issue I’ve encountered on multiple occasions is my RV GFCI outlet not resetting. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters may often refuse to reset when an outage, overload, or surge has occurred.
So what do you do when your RV GFCI outlet won’t reset? Several things can be done to try and get it to reset. You can check for a tripped breaker, an overload, or a blown-up fuse, toggle the reset and test button, check the wiring, or even replace the outlet itself if need be.
Here, I’ll go over the steps in more detail, which should help you identify the problem and troubleshoot it accordingly.
What Causes an RV GFCI Outlet Not to Reset?
First, it’s important to identify the source of the issue. GFCIs detect ground faults and shorts in electricity and shut off as soon as they sense them.
As mentioned, they prevent themselves from resetting when they sense an overload or surge. These occurrences may happen due to a lack of power supply, a tripped breaker, a blown-up fuse, or faulty wiring.
Sometimes, the reset button may be broken, the installation might be flawed, or you might have an outdated model that’s simply gone bad.
5 Ways to Troubleshoot RV GFCI Outlet Not Resetting
I have encountered this issue multiple times, so I have tried a few of these fixes to get my outlet resetting again. With any luck, one of these methods should provide a solution.
See if There Are Any Other Dead Outlets
If you have other outlets on the same circuit, look at them to see if they’re working. Turn the lights on and then off. For me, using a voltage tester always simplified the process further.
Also, unplug any devices plugged into dead outlets. This way, you can rule out overloads or shorts from one of those outlets.
I find it really helpful to tape over the dead outlets to make them easier to locate when the power is turned off.
Check for Tripped Circuits or Blown Fuses
Circuit breakers trip when their maximum amperage is exceeded. This can happen due to an overload, a short, or faulty wiring. If the circuit is tripped, flip it off and back on. This should reset the outlet. However, if the outlet still won’t reset, look for a blown-up fuse, and if found, replace it.
Toggle Reset and Test Buttons
Test and reset buttons are located on every GFCI outlet. Test buttons are typically black, and reset buttons are red. You can toggle them to test if the power is flowing.
For a proper test and reset of the GFCI, turn off all appliances connected to it and unplug them before pushing its reset button. When you press the button, the outlet should start working again if you hear a click.
You should try pressing the reset button a few times if it doesn’t work the first time. It could also happen that one outlet works but not the other. I’ve also observed that it works by toggling both buttons simultaneously until the sound comes.
Check for a Faulty GFCI
Often, when the GFCI doesn’t reset, either the GFCI has no power or the GFCI has failed. Throughout my experience, I have seen several scenarios where this occurs.
So, I recommend looking at these symptoms to assess the issue:
- Maybe you haven’t pushed the button enough to get the current flowing if it doesn’t click, or your GFCI is defective.
- An underlying ground fault may have caused the reset button to pop, or perhaps an incorrectly wired GFCI.
- An incorrectly wired GFCI or a ground fault may cause the reset button not to stay put.
- If your devices work with the not-resetting outlet, your line or load may have reversed. A faulty circuit interrupter can occur rarely.
- GFCIs that do not work even when the reset button is pressed could either be miswired, faulty, or underpowered.
Identify and Reattach Loose or Faulty Connections
This is what happened most in my case. My connectors often get loose or corroded from the moisture. To fix this, I have to turn off the circuit, open the outlet box, and check for any corrosion or loose wires.
Unplug a loose wire if you find one. Strip all the copper wires from the connector and cut all the wires in half or three-fourth-inch lengths. After that, attach the connector to the wire and close the outlet box.
When to Call an Electrician to Fix Your RV GFCI?
In some cases, faulty GFCI outlets may indicate a more severe issue that should be handled by a professional with more knowledge.
For example, I’ve noticed several times that the GFCI trips each time I reset it. And my research revealed that the circuit might contain an electrical leak of harmful current. In that case, you should seek help from an electrician.
Also, if you encounter any kind of sparks in the process, it’s best to turn off the power and call an electrician for help. Calling a professional is your best bet when you identify reversed wiring or similar wiring problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, I have answered some frequently asked questions about troubleshooting RV GFCI outlets that won’t reset.
What is the difference between a GFCI outlet and a regular outlet?
GFCI outlets are designed to detect electrical imbalance and would shut off the power automatically when it detects any leakage in the power. On the other hand, regular outlets are not as sensitive and don’t protect against electrical shocks.
How much does it cost to fix a GFCI outlet?
The cost of repairing a GFCI outlet depends on the issue’s complexity and location. Generally, a simple wiring repair costs around $75 to $100 per hour in labor costs. Complex wiring repairs may cost more.
Can I replace a GFCI outlet myself?
Yes, replacing a GFCI outlet is relatively easy if you know how to work with electricity. But it’s best to leave the task to a professional electrician if it’s a leakage issue or a complicated wiring repair.
How to fix a stuck GFCI outlet that refuses to reset?
If your GFCI outlet is stuck, you can try pressing the test and reset buttons multiple times or unplugging and reconnecting the wires. Make sure there’s no electrical leak before you reset the outlet. Check for any corrosion or loose wires in the box and ensure all the wiring is intact.
RV GFCI outlets can cause a lot of inconveniences if not reset properly. With the help of this article, I hope you know how to troubleshoot the issue and identify any underlying cause before acting accordingly.
As you can see, the fix can be as simple as toggling the test and reset buttons or as complex as rewiring. In any case, it pays to be extra cautious and keep safety as your top priority.
Remember never to attempt an electrical repair yourself if you’re not trained to work with electricity. If in doubt, always call a professional electrician to handle the task for you.
Zayan is an accomplished author and a go-to expert for all things RV and camper-related. With a passion for adventure and a knack for problem-solving, he has spent years exploring the open road and fine-tuning his knowledge of recreational vehicles.
Zayan’s writing is a testament to his expertise, offering readers practical solutions to common RV dilemmas. Whether it’s troubleshooting mechanical issues, optimizing space, or planning the perfect road trip, Zayan’s insightful advice and engaging storytelling make him an invaluable resource for both seasoned travelers and newcomers to the world of RVing.