The ABC’S of GFI’S: What To Do When You Blow a Fuse & the Circuit Breaker Isn’t the Answer & Why it Will Save You $120

The ABC’S of GFI’S What To Do When You Blow a Fuse & the Circuit Breaker Isn’t the Answer & Why it Will Save You $120

Back when I was young my dad showed me a handyman tip that I use to this day.  It’s super easy, effective and requires no tools!  I have come to find out that something that was second nature in our house hold is not even on the radar of others, but should be.

Rewind back to the 80’s, my 3 sisters and I shared one bathroom with only 2 outlets.  This allowed us only 4 things total to plug in and here is how we broke it down:

1) First outlet was our hair crimper

2) Second was our curling iron

3) Third was our huge boom box with a super cool double cassette player

4) Lastly was our hair dryer.

This last item always seemed to be the culprit. We would run our hair dryer for a few minutes and BAM!, we would blow a fuse causing all power to the bathroom to shut off and us girls screaming down to our dad.  Instead of heading to the basement to “check the fuse box”, he simply went into our bathroom and pushed a button on our GFI outlet and like a miracle, the power came back on.  He then proceeded to tell us not to have so many things running at once but if it happened again to push the button on the outlet.

After he left we all looked at the outlets and sure enough, they both had two buttons on them which we never noticed.  Ours were red and one black, but I think they can be green and other colors.  It didn’t really matter to us because we now had this magic button that would allow us to fix the power without running to the fuse box and randomly turning off switches.

Fast forward to present day I receive a phone call from a man in the early morning who was making breakfast and his power to the kitchen turned off.  He checked the fuse box and it still didn’t work.  After a couple of questions I found out that he had his coffee pot, food processor and toaster all going at the same time prior to the blow out.  I asked him (kind of sheepishly) because I still assumed that this was common knowledge and I didn’t want to offend, “have you checked your GFI’S?”  He had no idea what I was talking about. So over the phone I explained as best I could how to locate his GFI’S. (Almost always in kitchen and baths as a safety measure).  He ended up finding the right GFI that had tripped and was able to get his power back and get back to breakfast.

Next case was much the same but with a women who was getting ready for work and had her curling iron and blow dryer going when her light went out. I also walked her through the process and got the power back on.  Both potential customers were extremely grateful because they were both just ready to pay money to get it fixed.


I am not claiming to be some sort of electrician, miles from it. But I do know that this little trick has helped a couple of people over the last few months. Not only to save money but to give them a little knowledge to help themselves or possibly others in the future. Who doesn’t want to be the hero?!  Dedicated to my handyman hero, my dad.  Thanks dad! -Trista


“I requested a service online late last night and got a call early this morning.  The woman helped me troubleshoot my electrical problem (okay, okay all I had to do was press the reset button on my outlet which I didn’t know existed because…well, I was in the dark and too focused on flipping the circuit breaker).  And voila!  It worked.  I was impressed.  They could have just sent someone out and charged me $120 to push a button but instead they saved me time and money with a helpful suggestion over the phone.  I didn’t need them to come out this time, but they just earned a customer for life.”

-Hope N.

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