Can a GFCI outlet go bad?

Absolutely. A typical GFCI outlet is known to last an average of about 10 years. In areas prone to storms and outages (hello, Indiana) the lifespan of your GFCI outlet can be 5 years or fewer. So what are the symptoms of a failing GFCI outlet? Read on, my friend.

Why You Trippin’?  

First off, when a GFCI trips, there must be a reason. Makes sure that you find out why the outlet tripped. Don’t just reset it and forget it. A GFCI outlet does not provide overcurrent protection, meaning too much power within the circuit that is the breaker or fuse’s job. A GFCI measures the current flowing within the circuit and when it senses some sort of imbalance it trips. That imbalance can be caused by a number of things- a bad outlet within the circuit, coming in contact with moisture or a ground fault just to name a few.

Testing 1, 2, 3

The best way to find out if your GFCI outlet is working correctly is to test it. First, make sure there is power to it. You can’t test a GFCI outlet with no power. You will see two buttons on a GFCI outlet. The red button is the RESET button. The button below that, which is usually black, is the TEST button, although some have no color at all.


  1. Find the TEST button and press it. If the GFCI outlet does not trip (You will hear that pop/click noise and the RESET button will pop forward if it does trip.) then you need to replace the outlet.
  2. If you press the TEST button, the GFCI outlet trips, but it will not RESET, you need to replace your GFCI outlet.
  3. If there is power to the GFCI outlet, but it is not supplying power to whatever you plug into it, replace the outlet.


There are a lot of DIY projects you can tackle. Heck, make that pallet headboard for your bedroom and IKEA hack those bookshelves, but when it comes to electricity, please don’t take any chances. Call or text Godby and we can have a trained Electrician come to your house to take care of your electrical needs.

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Call us at 317-471-8700!

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