I ran a new electrical line in my basement to include a GFI receptacle for a portable sump pump followed by a switch that controls four LED can lights. All parts are brand new.

I wanted to have the entire system GFI protected so placed the receptacle first in line. Per the instructions the wiring from the breaker was wired to the LINE side then wired from the LOAD side to send power to the switch then wired the can lights from there.

Doing this I couldn't get power to the switch. I then rewired the receptacle so both the line coming to it and the line going to the switch both were on the LINE side.

I now have power to the switch but without the GFI protection but when I plug in the pump I have to wiggle the plug to get it to work and once the pump shuts off it won't start again without giggling the cord again. I inserted receptacle reader and no matter how much I wiggle it none of the lights light which is suppose to indicate an 'Open Hot'. I've gone over all of the wiring multiple times and everything looks good. My question is, what does 'Open Hot' mean and what might I have done incorrectly? Could it be a bad GFI receptacle? At $25 a piece I hate to purchase a second one if it might be something different.

2 Answers 2


If you're getting power on the LINE side but not the LOAD side of the GFCI, there's a few possibilities.

  • The GFCI is not set.
    • Make sure the reset button is pushed in all the way.
  • The device is not wired probably.
    • GFCIs typically will not set if they are wired incorrectly.
  • The device is defective.
    • Exchange it, or buy a new one.
  • There's a ground-fault.
    • Find the fault and fix it.

Based in your description, it sounds like a defective device.


I'd have to go with the GFCI being bad...you shouldn't have to wiggle anything. I'm sorry if you can't take it back & exchange it for a good one, but you don't want any defects. Check your connections, blacks to brass (or blacks, depending on the maker) & whites to silvers...open hot usually means they're reversed.

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