How does a GFCI Work?

In this article, we'll review the process of resetting a GFCI.


A unique operational issue we often battle with on trailers and Pro-Flush systems is a tripped GFCI. A GFCI is a small device which is installed on a standard outlet and is used to sense fluctuation in electric currents. When a fluctuation occurs, it’s designed to quickly shut off the electrical current at the outlet, preventing dangerous shock injuries or fatal burns.

To reset the GFCI in these situations, you’ll want to first confirm there are no loose electrical components or connections that may have come in contact with water. Once everything checks out, you’ll need to hit the reset button on the duplex outlet. This should re-establish the electrical connections. If this does not rectify the issues, you’ll need to navigate to the main electrical panel to see if the breaker on the panel was also tripped.

If the breaker inside the breaker panel doesn’t appear to be tripped and the outlet we’re using is NOT equipped with a GFCI, there’s a good chance this outlet may be run in parallel with another outlet inside the trailer that has a tripped GFCI. To rectify, please inspect each of the outlets nearby (inside and outside of the trailer) to see if any GFCI outlets have tripped.  

For example, some office trailer manufacturers today will have an outlet installed under the trailer for heat trace. This same outlet could be run in parallel to an outlet inside the restroom which has a GFCI. It’s important when dealing with a power issue that we always check each of the interior GFCI outlets to see if any need to be reset. Most times this will rectify the issue, preventing the need to send a repair tech onsite and avoid expensive repair bills to the customer.