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barry martin
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Default GFCI Tripping constantly


M I woke up this morning, took a shower. When I went to shave I noticed that
M the GFCI receptacle in my bathroom had tripped. I pushed the "RESET" button
M back in but it immediately popped back out. Tried it about 10 more

Does this GFCI also power the outlet(s) for your outdoor Christmas
lights? If the lights work and your GFCI doesn't then that's not the
problem site. If the lights are also shut off then unplugging the
lights may or may not solve the problem: rainwater could have gotten
into the outlet box.

M times...kept happening. I remember reading on this NG years ago about this,
M and so I checked the "downstream" receptacle - which I'm assuming is just
M the other bathroom in my house which is adjacent to this one on the opposit

M wall (if that makes sense). That is not a GFCI receptacle, but it must be
M downstream of the GFCI in my bathroom because there is no longer any power
M to that receptacle either.

OK, so we have 'proved' the outlet in the other bathroom is powered
from the GFCI in your bathroom. Outlets downstream are protected by
the one GFCI and are usually regular outlets. (Hopefully while you
are experiencing this problem you are mapping the circuits and posting
it by the service panel. Two years from now when someone is in the
adjacent bathroom and the GFCI in your bathroom trips are you going to
remember or are they going to know if you are not around to reset the
GFCI in your batyhroom to fix their bathroom's problem? The circuit
breaker will not be tripped.)

M There is nothing plugged in anymore to either of these outlets, yet the GFC

M keeps tripping. My guess is, the GFCI has gone bad - it is most likely 20
M years old, as my house is 20 years old and I'm the 2nd owner (been here
M about 4 years), and the receptacle quite frankly looks old (if that is of
M any relevance).

It is possible for a GFCI to wear out or become overly sensitive --
the new GFCIs are better anyway, so wouldn't hurt to change it out.
Just remember to shut off the circuit breaker providing power to the
GFCI (line side).

M So how should I proceed? I have knowledge of electrical safety (ie, how not
M to get electrocuted, and how to use a meter). I also have basic wiring
M skills/tools, so my thought to was to buy a new GFCI and install it.
M However, there is one thing I'm concerned about:
M Yesterday the wife and I put up all of the Christmas lights outside. And of
M course right afterward, here in the Philadelphia area, it started raining
M and has ever since. So I'm concerned that perhaps the christmas lights (the
M standard series-wired little bulb things) are somehow playing into this. If
M not, then it's just odd coincidence? Those lights are not connected to the
M GFCI and are not "downstream" so I don't see how they could affect it. Come
M to think of it, I need to go check to make sure those still work - I haven'

M plugged them in yet today.

Assuming by now you have determined either the lights are on the GFCI
or not.

M For the time being - how should I troubleshoot this? Should I just go ahead
M and replace the GFCI receptacle?

Ckt breaker === your bath lights
=== your bath GFCI
==== adjacent bath's outlet
==== to outside lights?
==== to anything else?

The GFCI has LINE and LOAD terminals. The LINE terminals go to
circuit breaker (power in). The LOAD terminals go to the downstream

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