COMMUNITY FORUM

mjb920

03:50PM | 01/06/05
Member Since: 01/05/05
3 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
Hello - I have a GFCI (Ground fault circuit interrupter) receptacle in the garage that has been "off and on" the past year or so. Every 3 months or so, the Reset button will pop out and needs to be reset. I realize that this is what they're designed to do in certain circumstances, but I'm not entirely certain how they work. In other words, the circuit this was on did not trip, just the GFCI outlet itself. Only a freezer was plugged into this outlet(not overloaded), etc.

Nothing happened such as dropping a dryer in the tub or anything. I'm not being facetious, I just don't know exactly how they work or when/why they trip. My problem is, this past time it shutoff, it would not reset at all (push test, pushed reset button back in, would pop back out after 5-10 seconds) Whereas in the past, reset buttons pops out, it would be fine once the reset button was pushed in. This time, it was stubborn. After trying it several times, it finally stayed in the next day this time. Any suggestions as to what could be the cause?

I read a tiny imbalance in the power and neural line will trip the GFCI, and an imblance indicates the possibility of a current leakage -- but what does that mean in laymans terms? What do you reccomend? A professional electrician to replace the outlet? And lastly, why would it reset immediately when it tripped before, but take more than a day this time before it would accept the Reset button staying pushed in? Thank you in advance for your reply.

Wireman

05:53PM | 01/06/05
Member Since: 12/19/04
62 lifetime posts
920, Just replace the GFI receptacle. They do fail and it sounds like yours has. If that gfi is behind the freezer you would still be following code if you replaced the GFI receptacle with a single receptacle dedicated to just the freezer. Not wise to have a refrigerator or freezer on a GFI. They tend to nuisance trip when your on vacation.

How a GFI works. A normal circuit consists of a hot leg and a neutral (white) wire. The GFI reads the current on both wires. Should there be a discrepency (because current is flowing thru you) then the black wire is drawing more current than the white wire and the GFI trips.

If I had a freezer in the garage I would not have it on a gfi type receptacle.

Hope this helps.

Ron

mjb920

07:52PM | 01/06/05
Member Since: 01/05/05
3 lifetime posts
Wireman - thanks for the reply. I'll replace the GFI receptacle in the garage. One more quick questions along these lines...... There's an outlet in the laundry room directly behind the garage. It doesn't have a reset/test button so I'm not sure whether to call it GFI or not, but when the GFI in the garage trips, the one in the laundry room fails to work until the GFI in the garage is reset. So when I replace the GFI receptacle in the garage, is there anything I need to do about the outlet in the laundry room? Anything I need to wire differently to make the outlet in the laundry room work after replacing the GFI receptacle in the garage? Thanks again for your help.

mjb920

07:56PM | 01/06/05
Member Since: 01/05/05
3 lifetime posts
I should add - the outlet in the laundry room ties into the GFI in the garage is not on the same circuit as the washer/dryer - completely different. Nothing plugged into the one in question here, just would still like it to remain operable. Thanks.

Anonymous

06:26PM | 01/07/05
920

Lets back up on muy recommendation to just remove that gfi and replace it with a single receptacle. I was under the impression that this was a dedicated receptacle not protecting anything else down the line. Is the laundry room receptacle the only other receptacle on that gfi or does it also protect other receptacles in the garage, outside etc. You can determine this by tripping the gfi and checking all receptacles in the area. If other receptacles are also protected by the gfi besides the laundry room we can do one of two things.

1. Look at the type of box that the gfi is installed in. Is it a single gang box in the wall or is it a 4" sq type box with a plaster ring on it reducing it to single gang?

2. Is it a surface mounted box and what type?

Let me know what type of box you have and I can advise you from there. we may be easily able to just add the single receptacle next to the gfi and still protect the other receptacles while providing the non gfi protected receptacle for the freezer.

Also double check whether you might have a receptacle outside or somewhere with something plugged into it and causing it to trip. (wet cords outside will cause the gfi to trip)

Hope I'm not confusing you. Very simple if I was able to be there looking at it. Any chance your located in a warm state and will pay my way there? lol

Ron

carl21l

08:03PM | 01/07/05
Member Since: 03/21/04
173 lifetime posts
the outlet in the laundry is connected to the load side of the gfci outlet. that is required by code in most areas as there is water in the laundry room, so that the same protection as a bathroom is required with a GFCI circuit.

JMHO

Carl

Wireman

12:13PM | 01/08/05
Member Since: 12/19/04
62 lifetime posts
920,

Sent you a message earlier but it looks like it did not post. In my first reply I stated that you should replace the gfi receptacle and I took for granted that it was just protecting the receptacel at the freezer. From your next post it is evident that this gfi was protecting other receptacles in the home. Although there is no requirement in the national electrical code for GFI protection of receptacles in the laundry room, water or no water, this may have been a local reqirement in your city. But it also tells me that you may have other receptacles protected by this gfi that we have to determine first before changing the wiring to fit your needs regarding the freezer. So first you must trip that gfi and check all other receptacles in the area, both inside and outside, to determine if any other receptacles are protected. If you find that only the laundry room outlet is protected you can simply replace the gfi with a single receptacle by connecting the black wires together with a pigtail to the receptacle and the same with the white wires and the ground wire fromt he back of the box to the receptacle ground connection. Then put a new gfi in the laundry room. This will still give you protection in the laundry room and remove gfi protection from the freezer receptacle which will become a dedicated receptacle for the freezer. The code requires this to be a single receptacle meaning no duplex receptacle to prevent easy use without gfi protection.

Another suggestion. You could leave the gfi receptacle in the garage and tap off the line side of the gfi and mount the single receptacle for the freezer next to the gfi. If this sounds a little easier for you to do you could look at the box the gfi is mounted in and describe it for me and I will give you advice on how to put this together. Look to see if the box is flush but is a 4" sq box with a plaster ring reducing it to single gang or is it a plastic single gang box flush in the wall. I can email you pictures of the items you will need if you can get me this information. Hope I am making myself clear. It's really a simple job.

Ron
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