Bath Fan nuisance tripping...

1793

Senior Member
I know I've seen it somewhere here in the past but can't find it now. I have a customer who is experiencing a GFI receptacle tripping when their bath fan is turned OFF. I sure could use some help finding the thread(s) that discussed this particular type of problem.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Maybe searching for "inductive kickback".

What kind of GFCI? Have you tried to replace the GFCI? Preferably with a well known name like P&S, Leviton, or Cooper.
 
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taylorp

Guest
Kwired has hit the nail on the head. What you are experiencing is a type of "inductive kickback".
The same situation happened to me a few months ago. A homeowner's GFCI receptacles in their garage would "trip" everytime he turned OFF his garage lighting, which was fluorescent lighting.

They called me to find out why. I found that the electrician had extended the receptacle circuit to the garage lighting. (No problem with that.) But apparently when the transformers in the fluorescent lighting were de-energized, there was an inbalance in the current and this results in a GFCI tripping. And by the way, this was a $20 name brand GFCI receptacle.

My solution was to by-pass the GFCI and have the lighting fed directly by the circuit breaker and the switch.

My advice is for you to do the same for this bath fan if allowed. In my interpretation, bath fans do not need to be GFCI protected unless the manufacturer says they do.
 

templdl

Senior Member
Location
Wisconsin
I can't recall is the requirement for GfCIs tha same as those for AFCI? What I'm refering to is the term "outlets." In a bedroom a light fixture is considered an outlet isn't it when it comes to AFCIs? Then I would be concerned that a fan in a bath would be considered one also. I haven't dug through the code in that regard but I would find out what the NEC rules on the fan as being an outlet first and if it must be GFCI protected or not. I think not but thats only my opinion.
 

Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
I can't recall is the requirement for GfCIs tha same as those for AFCI? What I'm refering to is the term "outlets." In a bedroom a light fixture is considered an outlet isn't it when it comes to AFCIs? Then I would be concerned that a fan in a bath would be considered one also. I haven't dug through the code in that regard but I would find out what the NEC rules on the fan as being an outlet first and if it must be GFCI protected or not. I think not but thats only my opinion.
They don't use the term "outlets" for GFCI.

(A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and
20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in
(1) through (8) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter
protection for personnel.
(1) Bathrooms
(2) Garages, and also accessory buildings that have a floor
located at or below grade level not intended as habitable
rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas,
and areas of similar use
 

norcal

Senior Member
If the fan is installed over a tub, the manufacturers instructions may require GFCI protection, if it is out of the tub zone then omitting GFCI protection for it may be OK.
 
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taylorp

Guest
If my interpretation of 210.12(A) is correct, AFCI's are not required in Bathrooms in dwelling units.
 
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taylorp

Guest
Norcal is correct.

Instructions from the bath fan I installed last month:

"UL Listed for use over tub or shower when installed in a GFCI protected branch circuit."
 

templdl

Senior Member
Location
Wisconsin
If my interpretation of 210.12(A) is correct, AFCI's are not required in Bathrooms in dwelling units.
That was not what I was emplying. My interest was the correct application of a GFCI which as others pointed out refer to receptacles and not outlets so that clears up that issue which allows the fan to be place of a common circuit unles another location issue trumps that as illustrated by taylorp's post.
 

1793

Senior Member
Maybe searching for "inductive kickback".

What kind of GFCI? Have you tried to replace the GFCI? Preferably with a well known name like P&S, Leviton, or Cooper.
Thanks for the search criteria. I was planning on doing some research before I headed over to work on this.

If the fan is installed over a tub, the manufacturers instructions may require GFCI protection, if it is out of the tub zone then omitting GFCI protection for it may be OK.
I don't know at this time if the fan is in the tub / shower zone. If not, certainly one option.
 

jumper

Senior Member
Either the GFCI is bad or the fan has a problem, assuming fan is on the GFCI load side.

GFCIs are routinely used to protect motors and equipment with a much larger kick than a bath fan.

Think of construction sites and whatnot.
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
RCS1A6 by RKE

I get mine from a local wholesaler that sales AB products & is heavy on the PLCs. About $11 cost.

I never had the problem until my own house. GFCI was last item on its branch circuit. No interconnection with fan until neutral bar in the panel. They are in a bath/utility room.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
RCS1A6 by RKE


I get mine from a local wholesaler that sales AB products & is heavy on the PLCs. About $11 cost.

I never had the problem until my own house. GFCI was last item on its branch circuit. No interconnection with fan until neutral bar in the panel. They are in a bath/utility room.
Here is a link to the product you mentioned.

They call it a transient voltage filter. Surge arrestor might be another valid name for it.
 
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