Although the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters are essential to have for outdoor outlets that are exposed to rough weather, they can be a bit finicky.
If you have a GFCI outlet, you probably already know that it won’t always reset directly after a rainstorm.
Chances are there are times when the rain is just the start of the problem.
Sometimes it takes hours, days, or an electrician to come over and inspect before your GFCI will reset.
If you are having trouble with this and you want to consider what is causing it and how to fix your GFCI outlet after a rainstorm, we have all the answers you will need.
There are some specific reasons that this could be happening, and you must understand them in order to be able to move on and get your power outlets back up and running.
Let’s take a look at why your GFCI won’t reset after rain.
GFCI Won’t Reset After Rain (Causes, Fixes)
Sometimes the GFCI won’t reset simply because there is not enough time for it to dry out, but other times, the issues are more complicated.
The reason the outlet may not reset could be related to any of the following things.
1. The Outlet Is Still Not Dry
The GFCI may not reset because there is still too much moisture surrounding the outlet.
Although this may not be something that an electrician will be needed to diagnose, sometimes you just have to wait it out for a little while.
The GFCI outlet can be a bit sensitive, and this means there are times that you just can’t plug in.
This is not a very common reason because the GFCI outlets are typically quite good at ensuring your safety, and they may be a bit more cautious than necessary.
If your outlet won’t turn on and the rain has just stopped, maybe give it a few minutes to see if general moisture in the area is the reason behind this.
The problem with many outdoor outlets is that they are subject to corrosion.
Being exposed to the elements and having times when rain can get into the outlet itself is a significant problem.
This ends up causing corrosion inside the GFCI.
With corrosion, there won’t be much that you can do to restore the overall functionality of the outlet.
Instead, you should be considering replacing the entire outlet.
This is, of course, frustrating, but it must be done from time to time with outdoor electrical issues.
It is quite difficult to get a product to last outside, especially if it is in a highly exposed area.
Certain spots under a porch or screen may not cause you nearly as much trouble.
Overall, corrosion becomes an issue that we often can’t avoid in these high-exposure areas, and it will absolutely cause the outlet to shut down and not work.
The only real fix here is to have an electrician come out and replace the entire outlet.
Some homeowners who are very good with electrical work can replace the outlet themselves, but the issue with this is that you must turn off the electricity to the area before doing this.
Homeowners typically don’t have the proper tools to check for power and to ensure that it is safe to proceed with the electrical work they need to do.
3. Power Is Out
Have you checked to see if the power is back on after your rainstorm?
Sometimes the rain causes a power outage, and this is another reason that the GFCI will not reset.
A power failure to your entire home or the entire block can be checked online.
Sometimes you will just have to check with your provider to see that you have power to the home.
In addition, you can check any of the other electronic devices around your home to see if they have power.
If your power is out, try resetting the GFCI after the power comes back on.
This will likely be your only chance of getting this to work.
If your power comes back on, but you are still not able to get the GFCI to reset, then you will very likely need to try one of the other options on our list to get your GFCI to reset.
4. GFCI Is Defective
The rainstorm could have caused your GFCI outlet to become defective.
In addition, the rainstorm could have had no effect on the outlet itself, and it simply has gone bad.
Either of these is a possibility, but you probably won’t be able to tell if it is fully defective until you have an electrician come out to take a look.
The electrician can run a series of tests to see if it is, in fact, the GFCI that is defective or if there is some other type of blockage that is causing the outlet not to reset.
Sometimes after a while, the GFCI just won’t reset, and it is going to need to be replaced.
5. Ground Fault
The GFCI outlets are designed to protect against a ground fault that could injure or harm a person.
Have you considered that the tool or device that you are trying to plug in could be the item that is causing the error?
Maybe the GFCI outlet is doing what it is supposed to be doing and protecting you from getting seriously hurt.
If this is the case, you may have to try plugging something else in, but most of the time, the outlet should reset if there is nothing plugged into it.
Clear the outlet completely, try the reset and see if that makes a difference.
6. Incorrect Wiring
In any home, there is always a possibility of incorrect wiring.
The incorrect wiring is caused by the fact that when the outlet was put in, it was not installed correctly.
Additionally, the incorrect wiring could have been done at a later date if the outlet had been switched over to a GFCI outlet.
Most of the time, when dealing with incorrect wiring, you are going to need an electrician or electrical engineer to come to your home and determine what is causing the issue.
Incorrect wiring is a major problem because it could end up causing a fire or creating major damage to other systems or appliances in your home.
The best thing to do if you suspect incorrect wiring is to refrain from using any electronic devices until you have this worked out.
Only then is it really safe to start using the GFCI outlet yet again.
What Is A GFCI Outlet For?
You may have noticed that many homes have GFCI outlets in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.
In addition, the exterior outlets are almost always GFCI outlets.
(They really have to be.)
If you have noticed a trend, the GFCI outlets are all located near areas where water is present.
When water and electricity meet, the results are not always all that good.
Therefore, it makes sense to have an outlet that can ensure that, if there are any ground fault issues, the risk of electrical shock would be incredibly low.
Let’s take a bit of a deeper look into what the GFCI outlet does and where it is used.
What Is A Ground Fault?
A ground fault is when there is a break in the path of electricity from a tool or from an electrical system.
There is a break in the low resistance ground path that exists between these things.
The electrical current comes to that break, and it needs a place to go.
You see, once electrical energy is created, it will need to go somewhere because it cannot simply be destroyed.
Therefore, if there is a break somewhere, the electricity will look for an alternate path.
The trouble with this alternate path to the ground is that it will go through the user or the person holding the tool or the cord.
When this type of electricity passes through, it can cause a serious injury, and unfortunately, it has been known to cause death.
Therefore, the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is installed instead to help shut power off before someone can get seriously hurt.
This does not mean that a person will feel no impact, but with the GFCI able to shut down in a millisecond, the overall results are much better for the person who experiences the shock.
The GFCI is essentially a monitor.
It monitors the difference in the current that is coming and going from the outlet.
When these two things get out of balance, the GFCI steps into place and takes care of the person who is using the outlet.
Can GFCI Prevent Injury?
The whole point of the GFCI outlet is to help prevent an electrical injury.
There are, however, some things that should be considered before the GFCI is trusted fully.
To start off, this is an outlet that will need to be correctly installed because, otherwise, it will not be able to prevent injury.
If you need to have a professional come and install the outlet for you, then do so.
In the end, this could be a matter of life and death, and it is essential to employ people who know what they are doing.
The other thing to be aware of is that the GFCI needs to be appropriately maintained.
If you do not maintain the GFCI, it could fail when you need it the most.
Obviously, if the GFCI is outside, you should be checking it from time to time for both functionality and corrosion as well as other issues.
Many of the outdoor GFCI models will have a cover on them.
When a GFCI is working properly, it will trip as soon as a faulty tool is plugged in.
This is all that you need it to do to help prevent serious injury and death.
There are times when a GFCI outlet can still allow a person to get a shock.
However, this shock is typically not all that serious and will not carry the same risk of death as a traditional outlet without the GFCI carries.
The GFCI outlet is not going to protect against all electrical injuries.
However, for the most common electrical shock hazards, this will work just fine.
In addition, you will find that most GFCI outlets are going to help protect against fires, overheating, and other similar issues.
This is because of how this works and the way we have described how a GFCI will monitor and manage the current.
If you are working on installing a GFCI outlet and cross the wrong two wires, the outlet will not protect you.
This is why it is so essential to ensure that you are fully capable of these electrical projects before you attempt to do them yourself.
What Are The Different Types Of GFCI?
When you are trying to get your GFCI to reset after rain, it could be an issue with the specific type of GFCI that you are dealing with.
For instance, the cord-connected type can sometimes take longer to reset than the receptacle type.
Here are the three different types of GFCI and a few things that you should know about them.
1. Receptacle Type
A receptacle-type GFCI outlet is going to be the standard model that you see on the walls of your home.
These are typically two-receptacle outlets, and they have test and reset buttons located on them.
The receptacle-type GFCI outlets are popular because they are low in cost and generally quite easy to install.
2. Portable Type
The portable type can be moved from one outlet to another.
These are also going to have test and reset buttons, and they come in a few different styles.
You can plug these into a non GFCI outlet with this cord and a proper connection.
The portable type may cost a little more money because of its convenience, but in the end, it is a good solution.
3. Cord Connected Type
The last type of GFCI attachment is a cord-connected type.
The cord connected type is another portable solution that will protect the cord and any other equipment on the cord.
You have probably seen these when using something like a power washer.
With the proximity of the electricity to the water, the cord-connected type tends to be a really good solution for specific devices.
This is why you may have some trouble if you are power washing in the rain and your GFCI turns off.
Chances are you won’t be able to reset it until it dries out a bit.
Hopefully, you now feel as though you can understand why a GFCI won’t reset after rain.
This is a common occurrence and something that you should be aware of so that you know if you should call an electrician or not.
The electrician can help you test to see if your entire outlet has gone bad or if you simply need to make an adjustment to the GFCI or the tool you are using with it.
Remember that electricity is not something that you can mess around with, and getting the proper help for an issue like this is essential.