I recently bought a house and am testing the GFCI outlets throughout the home to confirm they are working properly. All of the outlets work when the receptacle TEST button is pressed. However I also tested them with the Commercial Electric GFCI outlet tester (link below), and this is where I get confused.
In summary, the outlet tester will trip some GFCI outlets, but not all of them. For instance, I have identified that the outlets in the kitchen are on one of two circuits, and there are two GFCI outlets in the kitchen. As mentioned above, the TEST buttons work. One of the circuits will trip with the tester as well: I plug the tester in, push the button, the GFCI kicks in immediately, and there is no more power at the outlet. When I try the tester on a receptacle on the other circuit no trip occurs.
The tester instructions do say to hold the button for six seconds, which I tried to no effect. However, the circuit that does trip, does so nearly immediately.
For what it is worth I have only used the tester on the GFCI receptacles themselves at this point. I have not tried to use the tester on GFCI protected outlets that are downstream of the GFCI receptacle.
So I think I have a few questions based upon my experience:
- If the TEST button trips the GFCI, is the GFCI working? No exceptions?
- What would cause a GFCI outlet to trip with the TEST button, but not with the outlet tester?
- What does the GFCI outlet tester does to test the receptacle? How about the TEST button on the receptacle?
Link to the tester used: