I reconnected my GFCI outlet but now it doesn't output electricity even though the current coming in tests positive (with a pen like current testing device). I also pressed the reset button, to no avail.

What are some reasons GFCI outlets won't output current to a plug even though proper current comes in? The other (non GFCI) outlets on the same circuit work fine.

3 Answers 3


Actually, it was the reset button, which needed to be pressed after flipping the breaker switch on.


If the device is not wired probably, it will not set. Make sure you've wired the LINE and LOAD terminals properly. Make sure you use the markings on the device, and don't simply wire it how the old one was. The LINE terminals are where the wires coming from the source should connect, while the LOAD terminals are where the wires going to other devices connect.

Make sure all connections are tight, and connected to the proper terminals. Brass colored terminals are for ungrounded (hot) connections. Silver colored terminals are for grounded (neutral) connections. Green terminals are for grounding conductors.

Make sure you've pressed the reset button in fully. Sometimes you have to press the button in quite far. Also note that with newer devices, when power is restored to the circuit the device will have to be reset.

Try replacing the GFCI. Every once in a while you get a bad device.

  • It works now. See my answer
    – amphibient
    Feb 8, 2016 at 2:24

I'm unsure why you disconnected it to begin with but first I would make sure you reconnected it properly and it's not connected to a similar type of breaker as well in the panel.

Depending on the location of it and what was being used for, these outlets do go bad and in the end need to be replaced. If you recheck all the wiring connections and they are done correctly, then replacing the recepticle is your only option. When testing any such circutry, you should be using a voltmeter. Your penlight tester might be showing power but it may be at a reduced voltage, telling you it needs replacement.

  • Why is it so hard to imagine that the circuit it was on needed changes and reconnecting the device ??
    – amphibient
    Feb 8, 2016 at 2:23
  • Will you finish your comment, I'm unsure your meaning of " the circuit it was on needed changes and reconnecting??" What kind of changes could a circuit need? It all means nothing since he answered saying he hadn't pushed the reset button it's working since doing so!
    – Richard
    Feb 9, 2016 at 6:51

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