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jim2468 12-09-2007 11:20 PM

GFCI at Control Panel won't reset

This afternoon I was cleaning out my rain gutters of all the leaves. I then rinsed them out as I normally do to get the detritus flushed out. At the same time, I had Christmas lights hanging on the gutters, and the lights were running to an outside receptacle with an old style GFCI (only a "test" button; no reset). As I was flushing gutters, the lights went out. Yes, I had gotten the lights wet at the connecting I went to control panel and the switch that controls the outside receptacles in front and back yard and the receptacles inside the bathroom tripped. I removed lights plug from receptacle, tried turning switch all the way "off", then turning on, but switch won't reset. It stays in the middle. Do you all think I need to spend my energy on the switch at the control panel or on replacing the GFCI outdoor receptacle that the Christmas lights were plugged into? By the way, the lights work still in a different outlet....also, when I try and plug something else into the outside GFCI receptacle, (a night light), it doesn't work.

If you can comment on 1) what you would spend your energy on first and 2) how to go about doing it I would much appreciate that.


glennjanie 12-10-2007 10:07 AM

Welcome Jim:
I would take the cover off the GFCI, check for loose wires, check the receptacle for tension, use a hair dryer to dry it out, then try it again. If that doesn't work, I would replace the receptacle with a new GFCI; it will cost around 10 -12 dolars.

jim2468 12-10-2007 12:17 PM

Thanks, I should clarify. The GFI is on the circuit breaker itself. The receptacle is just standard, I believe.

I'm thinking of changing out the breaker switch that won't reset....any thoughts?

thanks again,

glennjanie 12-10-2007 12:24 PM

Yes, I have thoughts in the range of $30 for a GFCI breaker. If you must change it out use a plain breaker and install a receptacle one instead.

jim2468 12-10-2007 02:42 PM

Thanks Glenn; I'll give this a shot this afternoon.


jim2468 12-12-2007 02:58 PM

Turns out that I had toasted the breaker switch. Started there, and replaced with a GFCI breaker, and that seemed to do the trick. Took this route of replacing breaker with a GFCI, otherwise, it would have cost more to put in a regular breaker, then replace two outside receptacles with GFCI and two bathroom receptacles with GFCI.

I had also read on a few other blogs to use a hair dryer to completely dry out the plugs of the X-mas lights, just to make sure they are dry. One solution someone threw out to keep these dry is to place shrink tubing over the transition plugs, and heat it so it shrinks down and doesn't let water in and becomes water-proof (or close to it).

ToolGuy 12-12-2007 05:13 PM

I'm not too keen on these matters but I would think exterior grade lights should be water proof right out of the box. That's what makes them exterior grade. I'm also thinking how lucky you are that the breaker worked, else you might not be here to write about it. ;)

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