Fried GFCI

Pretty standard story. Customer from yesterday calls this morning to tell me they have an electrician there now to fix a power outage in one of her back rooms. GFCI fried. I told her to let me know when he was done with the work and let me know what the total was. It was $392 which contained a $100 emergency service charge, $200 labor, and the remainder for parts and tax.

What should I do? She was nice but plainly stated she thinks it’s my fault and expects me to pay for it. Her house is very old and was clearly not taken care of. Her steps out front were crumbling to pieces, the railing was literally falling off, and I don’t doubt the electrical was in the same shape as the rest of the house.

The job was $300, so if I payed the whole bill I would only lose $92 and like 1 hour of time over all. Yesterday was a really good day though and I would hate to have it made into a mediocre day by this issue.

I don’t do old home for this very reason, Some are just waiting to crumble.

Just pay it and move on. It happened to me this year, my helper fried a GFCI to the tankless water heater to my luck it was only 160$ by a licensed local company.


Refund money. Put that house on DNS list. Roll on.


I agree with Chesebro. Pay it and move on. Not sure how water could’ve gotten into the bedroom unless that gfci also protected some outside receptacles. It’s not worth the headache trying to fight it. Plus, you don’t want a bad review or anything negative said about you. I’m dealing with a similar issue. The lady painted her gutters with regular paint. They hadn’t been cleaned in years so there was heavy moss build up. When I washed it the paint behind the moss was obviously loose or gone. She raised a fit about how the I had to have blown off the paint. The paint job on the rest of the gutters was horrible anyways. You could see brush marks and the white in the background. Now I have a couple small sections of gutters to paint. It’s bs but easier than dealing with a customer who’s p!ssed off.

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That’s a more legit complaint than what I’m dealing with. Got a guy whose house I cleaned 6 weeks ago just now complaining that the spider webs I cleaned off when doing the house washing are back in his entryway. Not sure how me washing his house is a guarantee spiders won’t make webs ever again. Told me his wife is pretty upset about it and he told her I’ll take care of it??? I’m trying to nicely tell him I’m not an exterminator


Apologize for the inconvenience, pay, and move on. Some guys tape around all exterior electrical fixtures, some have ridiculously long fine print terms and conditions to try to protect themselves from liability, some do both, and others take their chances that their accuracy and common sense will not cause any issues most of the time. Take your pick haha.


CYA, in case it ever reaches a point you determine you won’t cover it…$400 is probably nowhere near that point IMO.

I tape outlets but also have in our terms of agreement, that we’re not responsible for leaky windows, doors, outlets and roofs if water finds its way in…and damage is caused. I’ve never really had any problems but on what your dealing with I’d pay it and move on. I’m not going to take that much risk for a 300.00 HW, especially if they don’t keep their property up.

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That’s hilarious.

“Do you leave a light on in the entryway?.. ok, that’s probably what attracted the spiders back… I’d be happy to come out and rewash your entryway for $xxx. But as long as you keep a light on there, that attracts flies, which in turn attracts spiders.”


I blew a Gfci earlier this summer. I knew it was very likely me. I owned the problem. Shocked the customer (no pun intended) that I took ownership of the problem. They had never seen that before from a contractor.

I was pretty sure that replacing the outlet would solve the problem. But I didn’t want to waste 4 hours trying to figure that out. Easier for me to wash and let the electrician do his thing. Emergency service was going to be $300+ just to show up. Ouch. But the customer felt bad going that route. I have friend who’s a retired electrician. They were fine with letting him try to fix it. It was the outlet.

Then I had a customer last week that texted me and said I ruined her house when I washed her house.

I checked when I washed her house. It was over 70 days from when she contacted me.

I happened to be one street over doing a job when she texted so I just went over then when I was done. I asked why she didn’t contact me sooner. She claimed she did. I asked her to show me the extent or email because I never received anything. She couldn’t. I said over 70 days is way too long to say I broke something (especially when I’ve seen her husband watering their flowers multiple times while in that subdivision). She agreed.

If she would’ve pushed back, I probably would’ve relented. Like @marinegrunt said, not worth the bad review.

I dodon’have a fear of bad reviews. In fact, I honestly would like atleast one. All my reviews are 5 stars, which looks suspicious. 4.8 stars is a much more trusted figure


Ditto. Well, I do have a single 4 star review, but it’s not enough to bring the average below 5.0.

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I don’t fear a bad review but if I can avoid a bad review for $50, I’m doing it. That way when I can’t avoid a bad review, it’s much easier to take the hit.


Pay for it and forget it. Know your customers, if I have someone reach out to me for a quote and their home is in disrepair I pass.

Choose clients that keep up with their home and maintain it. In the long run you’ll make out like a bandit. Spend time building your client base out of homeowners that take pride on their home.

If you spend time building a network of clients that do not take care of their home and things are in disrepair you’ll run into this problem often, even if it’s not an issue you caused.


The stats are definitely accurate, but it’s far more important what the review says about you and your level of service, and how you respond to that. Resolve them when they’re cheap, so you can absorb them when you have to. Also, clients that we’ve taken responsibility and paid up have left us some of the best worded reviews we have. They usually don’t mention the “damage” much, but love to talk about your integrity, or being a stand up company, etc. Those reviews are worth at least what I paid them.

We’ve had a couple people leave them because we wouldn’t wash their house for a ridiculously low price they said we quoted them (technician onsite, so no CRM record)…when we look into the service next door, it was 14 months ago (and we wouldn’t have done it for the price he claimed then either…). It’s real easy to absorb a 1-star review from someone who is obviously mad because we wouldn’t meet their demands, and we can sincerely reply to the review that it was a long time ago, and obviously prices have gone up…etc.


I do not actually do pressure washing vocationally but have researched it pretty extensively as a possibility. I have learned a ton of information here and have put a lot of the information to good use doing some washing with the GC I currently work for. I am now a licensed electrician and am in the process of going back to electrical work as my full time gig.

I definitely agree with the general consensus above about taking the hit and paying for the GFCI. That being said, $400 to change out a GFCI in most markets is gouging at best. An exterior GFCI does not warrant an emergency call (which I define as anything outside of normal business hours or paying a fee to jump to the front of the schedule).

Corbin, in your situation, it may be too late, but moving forward, I would specify that I would not pay for any repairs that I was not contacted about prior to the homeowner authorizing the repair. In our area, you could have gotten that done for $150 to $200 by any number of licensed reputable companies. Again, I realize that geography could make a big difference but even at that, it sounds high to me.

As service professionals, I think we can help set a standard of expectations among our customers. One of those expectations should be that if the contractor breaks something, he is contacted and made a part of the quote and repair process. Just because a customer is okay with being gouged for a repair, it doesn’t mean we should be okay with it being passed along to us.


We provide a service.
I am not there to fix clients faulty connections.
Next time trip them.
And let them know.
I always tell them this.

Spraying an electrical outlet with conductive water mix can’t be labeled ‘faulty’.