GFCI Troubleshooting - Housewiring Question HELP NEEDED (1 Viewer)

Pure Energy

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GFCI is resetting itself; I've unplugged everything I can find on the circuit. It still won't stay set. This happened a few years ago and the culprit was the sump-pump. I bought a new sump pump and the electrician wired the pump on a separate breaker.

My plan is to do a real quick trouble-shoot of the GFCI by swapping it out with the one downstairs; but I'm reasonably confident the GFCI is good but will go through the motions to eliminate this possibility.

If this isn't it; I'm pretty much out of ideas. Any help with this issue is appreciated. The only significant variable that has changed is the deluge of ice, rain and snow over the past 18 hours. We're under a flood watch.
 

Thorin

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You're on the right track, swap the GFCI and post the results.

EDIT: also, if you expect water intrusion, open the feed breaker, get an ohmmeter, and check the resistance from ground to the hot and neutral wires. If it doesn't read open, you will have to find the short.
 
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Devildog

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Well it's not a GFCI problem. The other tripped.

Thorin, could the short be in a defective breaker?


It could be. Are the 2 GFCI's on the same circuit? If so, have you checked the breaker to see if it's tripped? Mine did that a couple of years ago where it would get hot and the thermal protector in my breaker would trip it off line. I would have to go reset it and it would do it about once a day. I replaced it and haven't had any problems since.
 

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If the feed breaker were shorted you would probably have more catastrophic problems, like fire. If you know the full path of the circuit, start disconnecting the fixtures / outlets . Connect the gfci as close to the feed as you can get see it it still pops. If it holds, work your way out from there. If you get to a point that it starts tripping again, you have then isolated it down to a much smaller area. If the problem is water intrusion, it might dry out before you actually find the problem.
 
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They're on different circuits and the breaker that the GFCI's are tripping requires frequent reset (~4 time s a year).

How difficult (dangerous) is it to replace a breaker? Do I have to cut power to the entire house to do it?
 

Thorin

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They're on different circuits and the breaker that the GFCI's are tripping requires frequent reset (~4 time s a year).

How difficult (dangerous) is it to replace a breaker? Do I have to cut power to the entire house to do it?

Yes, be careful, there is usually a service disconnect switch outside or a main on the circuit breaker panel that feeds the smaller breakers. I always check a circuit with a voltmeter before I touch it just to be sure.
 
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If the feed breaker were shorted you would probably have more catastrophic problems, like fire. If you know the full path of the circuit, start disconnecting the fixtures / outlets . Connect the gfci as close to the feed as you can get see it it still pops. If it holds, work your way out from there. If you get to a point that it starts tripping again, you have then isolated it down to a much smaller area. If the problem is water intrusion, it might dry out before you actually find the problem.

Gotcha....I've identified the 5 outlets on the circuit (2 in each bathroom and one in the basement). The closest is in the basement.

Note: I'm taking the day off from work to trouble-shoot this problem--I need a day away from the office anyway. :)
 

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Gotcha....I've identified the 5 outlets on the circuit (2 in each bathroom and one in the basement). The closest is in the basement.

Note: I'm taking the day off from work to trouble-shoot this problem--I need a day away from the office anyway. :)

Just for clarification, be sure to disconnect the romex that is further down the line as you move the GFCI around, effectively starting with a small circuit, and getting longer as you move down the line.
 

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(tongue in cheek)

All I know is that there is no such thing in the world as a competent electrician. Every single one I've ever hired has looked at the current wiring and said "What the hell was that last guy thinking?"
 

efil4stnias

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GFCI is resetting itself; I've unplugged everything I can find on the circuit. It still won't stay set. This happened a few years ago and the culprit was the sump-pump. I bought a new sump pump and the electrician wired the pump on a separate breaker.

My plan is to do a real quick trouble-shoot of the GFCI by swapping it out with the one downstairs; but I'm reasonably confident the GFCI is good but will go through the motions to eliminate this possibility.

If this isn't it; I'm pretty much out of ideas. Any help with this issue is appreciated. The only significant variable that has changed is the deluge of ice, rain and snow over the past 18 hours. We're under a flood watch.



I have a similar problem in my garage with out lamp post out front. After a HEAVY rain, water will intrude and soak the bulb/bulb holder and will cause my GFI to trip. Got home last night, hit the garage opener and knew right away what needed to be done. I have to remove lamnp cover, remove bulb, dry bulb and the bulb holder of any water, replace and press reset. I have completely caulked the interior of the lamp cover, sealed the lamppost and still get water INSIDE the doggone thing. Now I am thinking the underground wiring is not in a conduit and somehow getting moisture after a heavy rain.

Good luck....
 

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I have a similar problem in my garage with out lamp post out front. After a HEAVY rain, water will intrude and soak the bulb/bulb holder and will cause my GFI to trip. Got home last night, hit the garage opener and knew right away what needed to be done. I have to remove lamnp cover, remove bulb, dry bulb and the bulb holder of any water, replace and press reset. I have completely caulked the interior of the lamp cover, sealed the lamppost and still get water INSIDE the doggone thing. Now I am thinking the underground wiring is not in a conduit and somehow getting moisture after a heavy rain.

Good luck....

the wire could be in conduit and still get wet. if its old or when they pulled it they damaged the jacket it could be getting wet and shorting out to the conduit.
 

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(tongue in cheek)

All I know is that there is no such thing in the world as a competent electrician. Every single one I've ever hired has looked at the current wiring and said "What the hell was that last guy thinking?"


I do that where I work. I am in the apprentice program for electrician for an offshore drilling company and you would be amazed at the shoddy workmanship some of those electricians have left behind.:covri:
 

efil4stnias

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the wire could be in conduit and still get wet. if its old or when they pulled it they damaged the jacket it could be getting wet and shorting out to the conduit.

dang so I would have to dig up the conduit to check the wiring. Thats about right for me....
 

Redlands Saints

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dang so I would have to dig up the conduit to check the wiring. Thats about right for me....

well if you want to find out if there is water in the pipe carefully put a shop vac hose from the exhaust side of the vac on the conduit at the electrical panel and see if you blow water out the other side at the light pole. shut the power off on that circuit first. if you have a multi-meter you could shut off the circuit and check to see if you have continuity between the power wire and ground or common.
 

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