2 Signs Your Bathroom's Inline GFCI Outlet Needs Replacing

Posted on: 12 September 2017

If your bathroom's ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, or GFCI outlet, has started exhibiting odd behavior, you may wonder if it is time to replace it. If so, look for the following signs that the outlet is having issues that may make replacing it necessary.

Small Appliances Trip the Inline Breaker

One sign that your outlet may need replacing is the frequency at which the inline GFCI breaker trips whenever you use small appliances. Normally, using such appliances as hair dryers or electric razors should only trip the internal breaker if there is a power surge or the outlet becomes overloaded.

However, if the inline breaker is malfunctioning, the GFCI breaker may start to trip every time you try to use something plugged into it. This problem could also be a sign of a loose wire inside the outlet, so you should have a professional inspect the outlet to discern the issue.

Outlet Shocks You When You Try to Plug Something In

Along with constantly tripping the breaker, you may have also noticed that the outlet gives you a small shock whenever you try to plug something in. When the inline GFCI is working as it should, you should never feel any shocks coming from the outlet. Instead, the breaker should shut off the electricity to the outlet until you depress the reset button.

However, if the inline breaker has worn down from constant use, it may no longer have the ability to detect when a surge of electricity is present. If this is the case, small amounts of electrical current jump from the outlet to the plug, resulting in a small shock. 

If you find that you are constantly being shocked whenever you try to use your bathroom plug, have it inspected as soon as possible. Also, avoid using it until you can have it checked out.

If a strong enough power surge comes through the outlet, you could be seriously burned or electrocuted, especially if water is present when the shock occurs. A licensed professional can test the breaker and the wires to find the cause of the shocks and either replace the GFCI outlet or wires feeding it.

If you notice any of the signs above, your bathroom's outlet may need to be replaced. Contact a professional so they can test your inline GFCI outlet and find out the cause of the problem and discuss your options for either rewiring the outlet or replacing it with a new one.