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Old October 3rd 05, 04:59 PM
 
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Default Lightning storms trip GFCI

I've had this happen several times now. Whenever we have a lightning
strike that's relatively close (as judged by the time between the flash
and the bang), our GFCI outlet will trip.

During regular rainstorms (even very hard rains), it will not trip. I
have tested it and it is working properly otherwise. From this, I'm
concluding that the problem is not caused by a water leak.

The circuit itself is indoor only. There are three outlets connected
to it. Two of them are idle, and the third has a chest freezer and a
dehumidifier plugged into it. The last outlet is only a couple feet
away from our sump pump (which is on its own circuit).

We do have many trees in our backyard, and our house does sit higher
than our neighbors'. I had a friend tell me that this was important
due to "streamers", but I don't know what those are.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to remedy the problem?

Thanks,
Jeff S.


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Old October 3rd 05, 05:14 PM
John Grabowski
 
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I've heard this story a number of times. I don't know how old your GFCI
receptacle is, but they came out with new standards for quality and
operation two years ago. You might want to try replacing the GFCI with a
new one.

Just for the heck of it, I would also check the grounding electrode system
for your dwelling. Is the grounding electrode conductor connection to your
water pipe tight? Do you have one or two ground rods installed? Are the
ground and neutral connections tight inside of your main panel? Is all of
your interior metal piping bonded? Is your telephone block and cable TV
block grounded?


John Grabowski
http://www.mrelectrician.tv



wrote in message
ups.com...
I've had this happen several times now. Whenever we have a lightning
strike that's relatively close (as judged by the time between the flash
and the bang), our GFCI outlet will trip.

During regular rainstorms (even very hard rains), it will not trip. I
have tested it and it is working properly otherwise. From this, I'm
concluding that the problem is not caused by a water leak.

The circuit itself is indoor only. There are three outlets connected
to it. Two of them are idle, and the third has a chest freezer and a
dehumidifier plugged into it. The last outlet is only a couple feet
away from our sump pump (which is on its own circuit).

We do have many trees in our backyard, and our house does sit higher
than our neighbors'. I had a friend tell me that this was important
due to "streamers", but I don't know what those are.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to remedy the problem?

Thanks,
Jeff S.


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Old October 4th 05, 12:39 AM
Beachcomber
 
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I suspect that a panel GFCI or arrestor would probably not make a great
deal of difference - sounds more to me like a grounding problem. John's
suggestion of thoroughly checking the grounding system out and/or replacing
the GFCI with a new one is more likely to bear fruit.

I'll note in passing that electrical codes don't require GFCI's on freezers,
but that assumes it's on a dedicated single outlet circuit.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.


You might want to reconsider having GFCI's on your freezer and sump
pump circuits. The theory is that you want to avoid nuisance tripping
on something that could really cause a problem if the power cuts out
on these circuits. Since lightning is a problem for you... I would
consider the highest qualitity surge protection for these individual
devices and perhaps a whole house surge protector.

If you live on the highest hill in the area, lightning theory suggest
that the downward streamers prior to a lightning stroke will seek out
attractive elevated conductive features on your property (antennas,
gutters, chimney flashings, vent pipes, and so forth..) This would be
in preference so similar features at a lower elevation. It is all
based on probability, however, and the fact that you live in a
lightning prone area suggests that additional mitigation steps would
be worthwhile.

Beachcomber




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