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Interesting GFCI Problem

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    Interesting GFCI Problem

    A few months back I was called for a problem where neither of two bathrooms receptacles were working. I discovered there was a GFCI breaker feeding both baths. Since the breaker was old, I replaced the GFCI breaker with a new one and it still wouldn't set. I checked everything that was not working and found that an outside receptacle was also on the circuit.
    Since it was late and also raining outside, I just put in a regular breaker and told them not to use the outside receptacle until I could get back to check further.

    I just "squeezed" this call in as I was very busy. I totally forgot about it and hadn't heard from the customer. Now, fast forward to now, I was called to the customer for a different problem. When I get there, I remembered I hadn't done anything to fix the GFCI problem. I didn't have a GFCI breaker with me so I decided to put a GFCI receptacle outside and in at least one of the baths as I figured one of them was fed from the other.

    When I took out the outside receptacle I looked at everything to see if there was something causing a ground fault. Didn't see anything obvious and the box was an old "bakelite" nonmetallic. What I did discover was the outside receptacle was the first outlet on the circuit. I put the GFCI receptacle in and it set with no trips. I was expecting it to not set since the GFCI breaker would not and this is the first outlet. Only thing I can think of is maybe the receptacle was wet when I was there earlier causing the GFCI breaker to trip.
    Thoughts?
    If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!

    #2
    Yes, your intuition has high probability.
    I just hope you did not feed thru the exterior gfi to the bathrooms though. Homeowners wouldn’t like having to go outside to reset if baths are without power.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Little Bill View Post
      A few months back I was called for a problem where neither of two bathrooms receptacles were working. I discovered there was a GFCI breaker feeding both baths. Since the breaker was old, I replaced the GFCI breaker with a new one and it still wouldn't set. I checked everything that was not working and found that an outside receptacle was also on the circuit.
      Since it was late and also raining outside, I just put in a regular breaker and told them not to use the outside receptacle until I could get back to check further.

      I just "squeezed" this call in as I was very busy. I totally forgot about it and hadn't heard from the customer. Now, fast forward to now, I was called to the customer for a different problem. When I get there, I remembered I hadn't done anything to fix the GFCI problem. I didn't have a GFCI breaker with me so I decided to put a GFCI receptacle outside and in at least one of the baths as I figured one of them was fed from the other.

      When I took out the outside receptacle I looked at everything to see if there was something causing a ground fault. Didn't see anything obvious and the box was an old "bakelite" nonmetallic. What I did discover was the outside receptacle was the first outlet on the circuit. I put the GFCI receptacle in and it set with no trips. I was expecting it to not set since the GFCI breaker would not and this is the first outlet. Only thing I can think of is maybe the receptacle was wet when I was there earlier causing the GFCI breaker to trip.
      Thoughts?
      You nailed it. Outside receptacles were almost always on those new fangled GFCIs.
      Tom
      TBLO

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by mopowr steve View Post
        Yes, your intuition has high probability.
        I just hope you did not feed thru the exterior gfi to the bathrooms though. Homeowners wouldn’t like having to go outside to reset if baths are without power.
        Yes, he might want to go back and pigtail that one out.
        Tom
        TBLO

        Comment


          #5
          Perhaps there's enough leakage to ground on the home run that it was causing the GFCI breaker to trip?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by synchro View Post
            Perhaps there could be enough leakage to ground on the home run to cause it to trip?
            It would have to be a very long home run.
            Tom
            TBLO

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ptonsparky View Post
              It would have to be a very long home run.
              And the bases were loaded too!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Little Bill View Post

                When I took out the outside receptacle I looked at everything to see if there was something causing a ground fault. Only thing I can think of is maybe the receptacle was wet when I was there earlier causing the GFCI breaker to trip.
                Thoughts?
                Had one like that a few years ago that was hidden behind some shrubs and would trip when the lawn sprinkler system came on. Replaced with W/R receptacle and in-use cover and that seem to fix the problem.

                I told them that if that did work that sprinkler head would need to be moved so it would spray on the receptacle.
                The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by growler View Post
                  Had one like that a few years ago that was hidden behind some shrubs and would trip when the lawn sprinkler system came on. Replaced with W/R receptacle and in-use cover and that seem to fix the problem.

                  I told them that if that did work that sprinkler head would need to be moved so it would spray on the receptacle.
                  Whenever it rains and I have left a little flip cover open on one of my outdoor receptacles, the outlets in my bathrooms and garage quit working. Your logic is spot on.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Way back in the second to the last decade of the twentieth century it was common to put all the GFIs on one circuit and put the GFI recpt wherever.
                    If Billy Idol is on your playlist go reevaluate your life.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by ActionDave View Post
                      Way back in the second to the last decade of the twentieth century it was common to put all the GFIs on one circuit and put the GFI recpt wherever.
                      That makes me feel older...
                      Tom
                      TBLO

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by ActionDave View Post
                        Way back in the second to the last decade of the twentieth century it was common to put all the GFIs on one circuit and put the GFI recpt wherever.
                        I hear ya.
                        I love when I test a receptacle in the house and I hear that familiar click but I'm not quite sure where it came from....
                        A majority of the colonial houses that are built in the70's and 80's in my are had one GFCI receptacle located at the panel in the basement. This feed all the bathroom, out door and general purpose receptacles. I have talked many o customers out of a service call over the phone into resetting the GFCI receptacle before I head out.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by ActionDave View Post
                          Way back in the second to the last decade of the twentieth century it was common to put all the GFIs on one circuit and put the GFI recpt wherever.
                          We built our house "way back" in 1987 and that's the way it's wired. The GFI outlet is in the guest bathroom and it controls outlets near the front door, near the back door, in the master bath, and in the garage.

                          Comment

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