LumberJocks

All Replies on My ground fault breaker keeps tripping.

  • Advertise with us
View bondogaposis's profile

My ground fault breaker keeps tripping.

by bondogaposis
posted 08-17-2019 06:59 PM


25 replies so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

4958 posts in 1095 days


#1 posted 08-17-2019 07:11 PM

You have a short to ground somewhere. It could be the GFI itself, but I’ve never had one go bad.

-- Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to sound smarter the faster they come at you.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

989 posts in 3298 days


#2 posted 08-17-2019 07:30 PM

Glad to see you have gfi receptacles in your shop. Yes, they DO fail. That is why the new ones have a lock molded into the face. The new ones self test and lock out if they are bad. Breakers also fail. Disconnect wire from breaker, and read hot and neutral to ground if you have a meter. Try breaker with no wire attached. Then reconnect wire and remove gfi and try breaker again. Remove gfi from circut and tie load and line wires together without gfi. See if it holds. If so, replace with new gfi. One step at a time.

View Sark's profile

Sark

195 posts in 866 days


#3 posted 08-17-2019 07:33 PM

A GFI can fail (has happened to me). And so can a circuit breaker (also happened to me). Also wires can come loose inside a box and cause GFI problems on that branch circuit anywhere in the line. I’ve also had problems where a wire on the circuit breaker came loose.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5738 posts in 2999 days


#4 posted 08-17-2019 07:58 PM

Yep. they can go bad and since they are relatively cheap to replace I’d switch it out.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

192 posts in 107 days


#5 posted 08-17-2019 09:54 PM

I would possibly look into using a GFI breaker(s) in the main panel and skipping the outlet style ones. The outlet style gets whacked by lightning all the time and I think the breaker style is a bit more robust. Even though the new ones with arc flash are out I would pass on those. The brushes in motors tend to false trip those often. I had one on my microwave after a kitchen remodel and had to swap it out as soon as the job was finished, it triped almost daily after break in.

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

606 posts in 707 days


#6 posted 08-17-2019 10:27 PM

yep, they do go bad , the failure rate of the 15 amp seems to be greater per a study i read awhile back, i changed all mine out to 20amp, since we do a lot of commercial work it seemed fitting, and yep, they go bad more than one would consider
rj in az

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

989 posts in 3298 days


#7 posted 08-17-2019 10:34 PM

Stick with gfi receptacles and put the money into a panel mount surge arrestor by square D. Protects the whole shop. And that would be arc fault, not arc flash. Arc flash is an electrical explosion. A very bad thing.

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

192 posts in 107 days


#8 posted 08-18-2019 03:09 AM

You are right ibewjon. Sorry, I ment arc fault. Arc flash is well beyond anything a breaker is going to help with.

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

452 posts in 2426 days


#9 posted 08-18-2019 11:30 AM

Any moisture?

View BuckeyeDennis's profile

BuckeyeDennis

41 posts in 204 days


#10 posted 08-18-2019 12:23 PM

GFCI outlets often have some standard-type outlets connected downstream. In my house for example, the GFCI outlets next to the bathroom vanities each supply a few outdoor outlets. So outdoor Christmas lights plus wet weather will occasionally trip them.

-- Dennis 'We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.' Charles Swindoll

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2907 posts in 1728 days


#11 posted 08-18-2019 01:59 PM

I’ve probably replaced every GFCI in my house over the years due to over sensitivity except for the outside garage door outlet. That thing powers chop saws, grinders, electric fence, etc. and hasn’t ever false tripped.

Now I only buy the highest quality units I can find and have switched to GFCI breakers where I could.
It seems to me the cheaper units work, but have limited cycles before they fail (fail-safe at least).

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3085 posts in 2853 days


#12 posted 08-18-2019 02:54 PM

It sounds like the overwhelming consensus is to replace all of the GFCI’s in the shop. While you are at it, you might want to take a good look at the wires as well and make sure they aren’t a tangled mess in the outlet box just in case a couple of exposed wires are touching.

I had an electric heater that kept tripping the 220V circuit. When I opened up the control box I found that the black wire on the thermostat had burned through the wire insulation in both the black and white wires. The wires were twisted together just a bit close to the terminations.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3925 posts in 1893 days


#13 posted 08-18-2019 09:16 PM

I too have also had a couple GFCI outlets go bad but I think that they would not reset when they did go bad. Except that last year, I had one almost start a fire. I started smelling burning rubber and when I reached unplug stuff, I realized that the GFCI was really hot but never tripped. When I pulled it out of the wall, it was badly burned and melted. Dodged a bullet.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3857 posts in 1079 days


#14 posted 08-19-2019 02:24 AM

I have them fail all the time. I hate the dumb things, but fully understand what they do, and the reason for them. I started buying 20Amps by the box.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Redoak49's profile (online now)

Redoak49

4177 posts in 2494 days


#15 posted 08-19-2019 11:11 AM



I have them fail all the time. I hate the dumb things, but fully understand what they do, and the reason for them. I started buying 20Amps by the box.

- therealSteveN


This is interesting…I have them in shop and no failures in 10 years. Are there some other factors which could cause them to keep failing?

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5738 posts in 2999 days


#16 posted 08-19-2019 12:05 PM

Redoak, it’s only my experience but 10 years isn’t long enough. Our house (21 years old) has one that’s failing (I think) right now…and I do recall having some others fail well after 10 years in other houses. I’m sure there are other factors that play into this besides age….but in the 3 shops I’ve had over the last 30 years or so I always put in good quality 20 amp GFCIs and had not had one of them fail. I suspect the quality of the device itself also plays a part in this.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

989 posts in 3298 days


#17 posted 08-19-2019 02:48 PM

Like so many things, you get what you pay for. Cheap gfi receptacles are just that. Cheap. I stay with p&s, leviton, Hubbell, and other name brands. Even these even have different quality levels. Home, commercial, industrial, and at the top, hospital grade. A surge arrestor in your panel, also helps to pretext the electronics in the gfi. I have had good luck with the square d panel installed surge arrestors. And all other electronics in the shop, like vfd’s, are also protected. There are single phase and three phase versions.

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

8647 posts in 2548 days


#18 posted 08-19-2019 03:04 PM

I had the same experience as this. At first the gfi would pop when using it and after awhile they would be popped without anything plugged in. I was told there is most likely a cut or pin hole or some sort of damage to the wire feeding it. Mine was the main feed to the garage. I replaced that wire and that took care of the problem.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

989 posts in 3298 days


#19 posted 08-19-2019 03:41 PM

Two problems with your statement. A nick in the wire feeding TO the gfi will not trip it, only a defect in the load wiring leaving the gfi. And if you changed gfi with no repairs to downstream wiring, there is no problem with the wiring, only with the gfi.

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2352 posts in 3143 days


#20 posted 08-19-2019 07:09 PM

I’ve had them fail repeatedly. One had a freezer plugged into it. Finally electrician put the freezer on separate circuit without ground fault. I have one that I need to replace that’s been buzzing/humming for a couple of years. Nothing works on it, so I don’t plug anything into that wall’s outlets (they are strung together). (I really need to turn off that breaker or replace that thing!) One of mine in the shop I finally got rid of because it seems that they don’t like inductive loads. The failed ones didn’t always trip. They just seemed to drop considerable voltage somehow and hum or buzz. Maybe they were cheap ones.

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

8647 posts in 2548 days


#21 posted 08-20-2019 03:28 AM

Follow up on my experience with my breakers popping. I forgot the whole garage is on a ground fault breaker.
This was years ago and old age take a toll on my memory.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3857 posts in 1079 days


#22 posted 08-20-2019 04:58 AM

I have them fail all the time. I hate the dumb things, but fully understand what they do, and the reason for them. I started buying 20Amps by the box.

- therealSteveN

This is interesting…I have them in shop and no failures in 10 years. Are there some other factors which could cause them to keep failing?

- Redoak49

My failures have been on both newly installed, and years old circuits. I initially had a crackpot do the wiring in the shop, lots of issues, but everything has been fixed by a licensed electrician. The panels, and breakers in the shop are Square D QO’s, same in the house now too, it had been Siemens. Actually the house has had more failure than the shop, and this drives my electrician crazy. He keeps saying it should be with all the *&%# dust. :-)

I am NOT an electrician, so I haven’t a clue. I just know they are my only electrical PIA.

The electrician says the average life for one is much less than a regular circuit, and probably around 10 years in, it is a good idea to swap them out. I laugh at him, and call him a jerk for trying to drum up business like that. He just shakes his head, and says yeah but….

-- Think safe, be safe

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5538 posts in 2857 days


#23 posted 08-20-2019 02:22 PM

Thanks for all of the replies. The brand is Legrand, made in China, it is 4 years old. It is what the electrician installed when I had my shop built. I’ll be replacing it tomorrow or the next day.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

989 posts in 3298 days


#24 posted 08-20-2019 02:53 PM

That is normally a quality unit. I have installed hundreds of them on the job. Some do fail earlier than others. Go with an industrial grade replacement. It will cost more, but it’s worth it.

View Mike_in_STL's profile (online now)

Mike_in_STL

991 posts in 1039 days


#25 posted 08-20-2019 04:20 PM

I had to replace the GFCI in my man cave as my 100 watt amateur radio would cause it to trip when I transmitted. Radio wasn’t even on that circuit. New GFCI has no problems with RF. So yes, they do go bad, even if there is no huge load on them.

-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com