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Thread: proper installation of gfci breaker

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    4

    proper installation of gfci breaker

    Hello all,

    I have a gfci breaker (murray) protected circuit that trips about once/week. The breaker protects a bathroom lighting circuit that includes 7 compact flourescent lighting fixtures (13 watts each) and bath exhaust fan. The reason to include the gfci is due to the fan requiring the gfci in shower installations. I am unable to cause/duplicate the tripping on demand, but every now and then, the lights no longer work. It is unknown when the tripping actually occurs as I have never witnessed it occur. There is no moisture or humidity problems because the bathroom is not finished yet and is not being used other than the lights.

    It has been suggested that the inductive nature of the flourescent compact lighting fixture ballasts may be causing the trips and that I should replace the gfci breaker with a normal one to protect the lights, and rewire the fan into the receptacle circuit, which will provide the gfci protection.

    It has also been suggested that the pigtail on the gfci breaker be coiled into a tight loop (I straighted it during installation and the instructions made no mention of a need to retain the loops). Does anyone know if the GFCI breaker pigtail require that it be coiled in the installation? Will a non-coiled gfci breaker pigtail result in nuisance trips?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Westchester County, New York
    Posts
    3,552

    Re: proper installation of gfci breaker

    The length of the run from the breaker to the fixtures, plus the length of the conductors with the fixtures may be the cause. Conductors themselves have current leakage, so the length from the panel may be your concern.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO NEC: 2011
    Posts
    15,323

    Re: proper installation of gfci breaker

    Originally posted by superdragon:
    The reason to include the gfci is due to the fan requiring the gfci in shower installations.
    Can you elaborate on this? Is this a listing requirement?

    Is the circuit being used for temp power for other than the lighting? In that case I would suspect someone's extension cord to contribute to the problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    N.C.
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    15,065

    Re: proper installation of gfci breaker

    Why not call an electrician to check it out?

    Roger
    Moderator

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    280

    Re: proper installation of gfci breaker

    Florescent lights have been known to cause tripping due to a small amount of current leakage. This is especially true if you put several on one circuit.

    I don't remember the brand of GFCI, but I recently saw in one of the directions that florescent lights would likely cause nuisance tripping.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    4,446

    Re: proper installation of gfci breaker

    Originally posted by roger:
    Why not call an electrician to check it out?

    Roger
    AMEN The best advice posted yet has been this one
    Mike Whitt
    God answers Knee-Mail.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    4

    Re: proper installation of gfci breaker

    Originally posted by georgestolz:
    Originally posted by superdragon:
    The reason to include the gfci is due to the fan requiring the gfci in shower installations.
    Can you elaborate on this? Is this a listing requirement?

    Is the circuit being used for temp power for other than the lighting? In that case I would suspect someone's extension cord to contribute to the problem.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    4

    Re: proper installation of gfci breaker

    The requirement for gfci to protect fan is specified by manufacturer when the fan is used in a shower installation. This is a very large shower (8'x5'). This requirement is consistent with almost all fans installed in a shower area. This is not for temp power. The lighting and fan was added so it was easier to place them into the same circuit. There are no extension cords used as there are no receptacles in this circuit. 12g romex wiring (new) was used.
    -----------------------

    Originally posted by georgestolz:
    Originally posted by superdragon:
    The reason to include the gfci is due to the fan requiring the gfci in shower installations.
    Can you elaborate on this? Is this a listing requirement?

    Is the circuit being used for temp power for other than the lighting? In that case I would suspect someone's extension cord to contribute to the problem.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    4

    Re: proper installation of gfci breaker

    Thank you. The run from the 15amp breaker to the fixture is about 60' of 12ga romex; from there, figure there is about 20' of 14ga romex between the switch and the 7 lamps. I am beginning to think that the problem may be due to a combination of the length of the run from breaker to fixtures and the 7 compact flourescent fixtures.

    ------------------------
    Originally posted by pierre:
    The length of the run from the breaker to the fixtures, plus the length of the conductors with the fixtures may be the cause. Conductors themselves have current leakage, so the length from the panel may be your concern.

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