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leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
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Reviews:
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reply to iLearn

Re: First post - recently joined - GFCI without a ground wire

said by iLearn:

My question is, is this because there is a short somewhere or it happens because there could be too much load on the circuit?

It is guaranteed neither of those reasons. A short circuit (hot to neutral) or overload condition does not trip a GFCI (those conditions will trip a breaker which is an over-current protection device).

GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) will trip if there is a ground fault (some of the current from the hot wire does not return through the neutral wire creating an imbalance).
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LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

Could also be the GCFI showing it's age... They've been known to develop nuisance trips over time.

Is there anything specific plugged in or running when it trips? Any rhyme or reason, or is it random? Do you leave anything plugged in (toothbrush charger, razor, night-light, ???) all the time, that could be causing it?

If it's random, and there's nothing plugged in, I'd probably start with replacing the GFCI, myself.



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

GFCI are known to go bad, but not nearly at the rates many people think. When GFCI really fail the common failure modes are:
- not tripping in the presence of a fault current
- not being able to reset the GFCI after it tripped
Random trips as a result of a defect GFCI are rare.

In the majority of cases there is a real reason for the supposedly bogus "nuisance trip" such as humidity (often in conjunction with dust/dirt), defect appliances (especially motors/transformers where copper coils are only insulated with a thin coat of lacquer) or deteriorating wire insulation (either due to age or damaged by handyman or rodent).

Needless to say, bypassing or removing a GFCI because it keeps tripping creates a really dangerous situation since in the majority of cases the GFCI was alerting you to the presence of a real problem.

I don't like it when one GFCI is used to protect several locations since it makes locating the problem harder. My recommendation for a first step would be to install two more GFCI to protect each of the two bathrooms and the powder room separately. Troubleshooting will become easier once you know in which room to look for the problem.
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LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

@liebold I agree fully - that's why I asked if anything was plugged in or in use when it tripped; or if it was truly random.

I also suggested REPLACING the GFCI, not removing it... It's there for a purpose; and it may be doing it's job. A new GFCI gives a known-good starting point, and if the trips continue, it's time to look deeper.

Without knowing how the OP's place is wired; hard to say how involved rewiring to have seperate GFCI's would be.



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Yes, I realize nobody suggested simply removing the GFCI in this thread. It was just a free "Public Safety Announcement"

It is human nature to look for easy solutions and I have heard/read many times were someone chose to simply remove the GFCI outlet (or GFCI breaker) instead of trying to identify and fix the real problem.
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