5 Reasons Why Gfci Outlet Yellow Light Won’t Reset and How to Fix It

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Have you ever plugged in your hairdryer, toaster, or coffee maker and found out that the outlet is not working?

If you look closely, you may notice a yellow light on the outlet, indicating that it has tripped and needs to be reset.

But what if the reset button does not work? What does the yellow light mean and how can you fix it?

In this blog post, I will answer these questions and provide you with some tips and tricks on how to deal with a Gfci outlet yellow light that won’t reset.

Read on to find out more.

What is a Gfci Outlet?

gfci outlet yellow light wont reset

A Gfci outlet, or a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, is a special type of outlet that protects you from electric shocks and fires.

It works by constantly monitoring the flow of electricity through the circuit and detecting any imbalance or leakage.

If it senses a ground fault, or a short circuit, it will instantly cut off the power to prevent any harm.

Gfci outlets are required by the National Electrical Code (NEC) to be installed in areas where there is a high risk of water exposure, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, basements, and outdoor locations.

Additionally, Gcfi outlets can be easily recognizable by their test and reset buttons, and sometimes by a small light indicator.

ALSO READ: Generator Outlet Receptacles: An Overview

What Does a Yellow Light on a Gfci Outlet Mean?

gfci outlet yellow light wont reset

A yellow light on a Gfci outlet means that the outlet has detected a ground fault and has tripped, cutting off the power to the outlet and any other outlets connected to the same circuit. This is a safety feature that prevents electric shocks and fires.

However, a yellow light does not always mean that there is a problem with the outlet itself. Sometimes, the cause of the ground fault may be external, such as a faulty appliance, a damaged cord, or a wet or humid environment.

In these cases, the yellow light is a warning sign that you need to check and fix the source of the problem before resetting the outlet. If you try resetting the outlet without fixing the real problem, it won’t be resetted.

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What are the Causes of a Gfci Outlet Yellow Light? The Real Problem

There are several possible causes of a Gfci outlet yellow light, depending on the situation. Here are some of the most common ones:

1. Faulty Appliance

One of the most common reasons why a Gfci outlet shows a yellow light is a faulty appliance.

This means that, if you plug in an appliance that has a short circuit or a ground fault, it will cause the Gfci outlet to trip and show a yellow light.

This may happen if the appliance is old, damaged, poorly maintained, or has a wire bridge in the appliance.

If you want to test if the appliance is the problem, you can plug the appliance into a different outlet and see if it works. If it doesn’t, you need to replace or repair the appliance.

Some examples of appliances that may cause a Gfci outlet to trip are:

  • Hairdryers
  • Toasters
  • Coffee makers
  • Electric kettles
  • Irons
  • Microwaves
  • Blenders
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Electric heaters

2. Damaged Cord or Plug

Another common reason why a Gfci outlet shows a yellow light is a damaged cord or plug.

This means that, if the cord or plug of an appliance is frayed, cracked, or loose, it may create a ground fault and make the Gfci outlet trip and show a yellow light.

This may happen if the cord or plug is exposed to water, heat, or physical stress.

To test the damaged cord or plug, you can inspect the cord and plug for any signs of damage by using a multimeter to check if they are damaged or not. If they are, replace them if needed.

Some examples of signs of damage on a cord or plug are:

  • Burn marks
  • Cracks
  • Cuts
  • Exposed wires
  • Loose connections
  • Bent prongs

3. Wet or Humid Environment

A third common reason why a Gfci outlet shows a yellow light is a wet or humid environment.

This means that, if the Gfci outlet or any of the connected outlets are exposed to water, moisture, or humidity, it may cause a ground fault and make the Gfci outlet trip and show a yellow light.

This may happen if there is a leak, a spill, a flood, or a high level of condensation in the area. To test this, dry the outlet and the surrounding area and wait for the humidity to decrease before resetting the outlet.

Some examples of situations that may cause a wet or humid environment are:

  • Leaking pipes
  • Spilled liquids
  • Flooding
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Steam
  • Humidifiers

4. Wiring Problem

A fourth common reason why a Gfci outlet shows a yellow light is a wiring problem.

This means that, if the wiring of the Gfci outlet or the circuit is faulty, loose, or reversed, it may cause a ground fault and result in the Gfci outlet tripping and showing a yellow light.

This may happen if the wiring is old, damaged, poorly installed, or not up to code.

To test the wiring problem, you may need to contact a licensed electrician to inspect and fix the wiring.

Some examples of wiring problems are:

  • Loose connections
  • Short circuits
  • Crossed wires
  • Reversed polarity
  • Overloaded circuits
  • Incorrect wire size

5. Faulty Outlet

A fifth common reason why a Gfci outlet shows a yellow light is a faulty outlet.

This means that, if the outlet itself has internal damage, corrosion, or wear and tear, it may affect its functionality and safety. A faulty outlet may also trip the Gfci outlet or show a yellow light even when there is no ground fault.

This may happen if the outlet is old, poorly manufactured, or exposed to harsh conditions.

To fix a faulty outlet, you need to replace it with a new one. However, this is not a simple DIY task, as it involves working with live wires and electrical components. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you contact a licensed electrician to do the job for you.

ALSO READ: How to Fix Generac Generator WiFi Connection Issues

How to Fix a Gfci Outlet Yellow Light?

If you have identified the cause of the Gfci outlet yellow light, you can try to fix it by following these steps:

  1. Unplug all the appliances connected to the Gfci outlet and the circuit.
  2. Press the test button on the Gfci outlet to make sure it is tripped.
  3. Fix the source of the problem, such as replacing or repairing the faulty appliance, the damaged cord or plug, or drying the wet or humid area.
  4. Press the reset button on the Gfci outlet to restore the power.
  5. Plug in the appliances one by one and test them to see if they work and if the Gfci outlet stays on.
  6. If the Gfci outlet trips again or shows a yellow light, repeat the steps until you find and fix the problem.
  7. If the problem persists or you are unsure about the wiring, contact a licensed electrician for help.

ALSO READ: The 5 Best DC Multimeters for Accurate Electrical Measurements

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a Gfci outlet last?

The average lifespan of a Gfci outlet is about 15 to 25 years, depending on the quality, usage, and maintenance of the outlet. However, some factors can shorten the lifespan of a Gfci outlet, such as faulty ground wiring, electrical tripping, water exposure, or physical damage.

Why is my GFCI outlet light on but doesn’t work?

If your GFCI outlet’s light is on but it’s not working, it could be due to a faulty appliance, incorrect wiring, or a defective outlet itself. A yellow light usually indicates a tripped state due to a ground fault, but if the outlet doesn’t reset or work with other appliances, it might be worn out or damaged internally. It’s also possible that the circuit breaker has tripped, cutting power to the outlet. Since dealing with electrical components can be dangerous, it’s best to consult a licensed electrician to diagnose and resolve the issue safely.

Conclusion

A Gfci outlet yellow light is a sign that the outlet has detected a ground fault and has tripped, cutting off the power to the outlet and the circuit.

This is a safety feature that protects you from electric shocks and fires, but it also means that you need to check and fix the source of the problem before resetting the outlet.

The most common causes of a Gfci outlet yellow light are faulty appliances, damaged cords or plugs, wet or humid environments, and wiring problems.

You can fix them by unplugging the appliances, pressing the test and reset buttons, and fixing or replacing the problem items.

If you need professional help, contact a licensed electrician.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.

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