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Thread: What could it be?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post


    As stated, my first thought is a batch of bad breakers. But I'm not really convinced that's the case and am reluctant to just spend the HO's money and install all new GFCI breakers and not have that solve the issue. I'm wondering if there's some far-fetched cause lurking outside the box. Like an intermittent loose neutral. Or a phantom electrical pulse caused by an old X-10 system still in use here.

    I'm not sure anyone should be spending the homeowner's money for anything. If this was a complete rewire then it should fall under the rules for new construction. Here it would be required that the original EC ( company that was paid to do the work and obtain the permit) provide a one year warranty.

    This problem has me thinking of a house I worked on about 15 years ago. The house was less than a year old and a high end home. When I went in the attic the wired was all completely chewed by squirrels. I got them to contact an exteriminator. He found about 8 areas where small varmits could enter. Since the home was still under warranty they could at least try to go after the builder for repair cost. I don't know if they ever got any money from the builder but I got paid for the repairs.

    Something simple to check out if they have had circuits other than GFCI protected one's that tripped. I have seen cables chewed down to bare copper that would work most of the time.
    The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

  2. #12
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    This may be a silly question but, are the breakers all wired correctly?
    Cheers and Stay Safe,

    Marky the Sparky

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by electricguy61 View Post
    1) If it is a gas stove, the igniter for the gas will trip a GFCI for sure. (think about it: the stove sends a spark to the grounded burner plate). We now catch the igniter circuit with something like the refrigerator.
    Not necessarily. The spark is on the output side of a transformer and the current returns back to that side of the transformer, not back to the panel. The 120 volt side's load is line to neutral, not line to ground.
    Cheers and Stay Safe,

    Marky the Sparky

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
    All five circuits?
    Theoretically, it could be possible that the installer did a crappy job stuffing receptacles in and the bare ground is touching a neutral connector or wire in several places.

    Or, the neutrals could be connected together, two in one box and three in another would do it.

    I would start with one circuit and check every outlet all the way back to the panel and see what that reveals.
    Cheers and Stay Safe,

    Marky the Sparky

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by K8MHZ View Post
    Theoretically, it could be possible that the installer did a crappy job stuffing receptacles in and the bare ground is touching a neutral connector or wire in several places.

    Or, the neutrals could be connected together, two in one box and three in another would do it.

    I would start with one circuit and check every outlet all the way back to the panel and see what that reveals.
    If it's a solid N-G short, the circuit would never work. Same with multiple GFCI-protected circuits having their neutrals tied together. The instant a load is turned on it WILL trip. But these are intermittent trips.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
    The vast majority of tripping issues seem to be the dish/disposal circuit, the microwave circuit, and the two SABCs.
    Quote Originally Posted by K8MHZ View Post

    I would start with one circuit and check every outlet all the way back to the panel and see what that reveals.
    These are normally circuits that would run all the way back to the panel (new rewire) without splices or taps and should be easy to check.

    In the last 30 years or so I haven't had that much of a problem with GFCIs tripping but that could have been because we normally go for the less expensvie receptacles and not breakers.

    If it were me I would like to talk to the electrician that did the rewire and see if he/she normally wires houses. Get an idea if they did pull homeruns with no splices.

    I also wonder if they use metal boxes. some people don't get the romex connectors installed right but a pinched wire normally trips right off.
    The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
    If it's a solid N-G short, the circuit would never work. Same with multiple GFCI-protected circuits having their neutrals tied together. The instant a load is turned on it WILL trip. But these are intermittent trips.
    That's what makes it interesting. Intermittent problems can be a bear to solve.
    The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
    Yep.



    I find it hard to believe that 5 circuits have intermittent N-G shorts. If that's a common error in this installation, then all the AFCI breakers would be randomly tripping as well.




    If that was the case, the breaker would trip with any load as soon as it was turned on. That's not the case, however.




    GFCI breakers.

    The original EC did temporarily install non-GFCI breakers, and the HO said they didn't trip. But the GFCI breakers were reinstalled on the original ECs demands. Whether there was an inspection or not I haven't determined, but I'm assuming there was. But the inspection may have been done before the appliances were hooked up.


    As stated, my first thought is a batch of bad breakers. But I'm not really convinced that's the case and am reluctant to just spend the HO's money and install all new GFCI breakers and not have that solve the issue. I'm wondering if there's some far-fetched cause lurking outside the box. Like an intermittent loose neutral. Or a phantom electrical pulse caused by an old X-10 system still in use here.
    AFCI not required for some reason?

    Or are they dual function devices?

    I wouldn't rule out RF interference, seems to pop up here and there and is hard to track down where the source of the problem is.

    Might not even be related to the load of circuits involved.

    Tried to put an occupancy sensor (wall switch style) a few years ago in my shop, on existing T8 fluorescent luminaire. Every time it turned the light on, it tripped a GFCI receptacle that was completely isolated from the lighting circuit back to the panel. Still have no idea why it did this, I just removed it and put regular switch back in.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    AFCI not required for some reason?
    No.

    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    Or are they dual function devices?
    No

    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    I wouldn't rule out RF interference, seems to pop up here and there and is hard to track down where the source of the problem is.

    Might not even be related to the load of circuits involved.

    Tried to put an occupancy sensor (wall switch style) a few years ago in my shop, on existing T8 fluorescent luminaire. Every time it turned the light on, it tripped a GFCI receptacle that was completely isolated from the lighting circuit back to the panel. Still have no idea why it did this, I just removed it and put regular switch back in.
    I know RF can trip GFCI breakers. It's something weird like that that I suspect is the culprit.

  10. #20
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    Just a thought:

    Install a GFCI breaker. Terminate some NM to it, run it across the basement, then dead-end it in a plastic box. Wire nut the ends. Do not connect a load to it. Megger it to confirm there's no ground faults.

    Besides a strong RF signal, what else could cause this to trip?

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