The problem circuit has 4 bathroom sockets, a front porch socket, and a back porch socket. Nothing is plugged into any of the sockets. A month ago, when I first became aware of the problem, the GFCI breaker would trip after 60 to 90 minutes. I looked into all of the sockets and replaced the front porch socket which was cracked. Lately, the circuit is tripping after 5 or 6 minutes, again with nothing plugged into any of the sockets. This problem has appeared suddenly after 21 years in the house. There has been no construction done, no humidity issues, no issues with weather or rain, or water leakage, and no new appliances. I am stumped. Any suggestions appreciated.

  • If a circuit serves bathroom receptacles, it can only serve other loads in that same bathroom, or receptacles in other bathrooms. So now is a good time to sever the outdoor receptacles from that circuit. I bet your problem goes away! Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 1:55
  • Thank you for your response. When I discovered that the front porch and back porch receptacles were on the circuit, I was suspicious of them instantly. When I looked inside the boxes, I expected to see excessive dust, moisture, or a dead rodent. I did see a cracked receptacle, but replacing it did not solve the problem. I will replace the GFCI breaker first. If that does not work, I'll focus again on the two outdoor receptacles. Thanks again!
    – Rich B
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


Change the GFCI breaker. These do have a lifetime.


The other possibility is that a receptacle (less likely a switch) on the circuit has gotten wet and is leaking to ground. Recently I had a roof leak into an exterior wall leak onto an external receptacle and trip the GFCI. Going off half cocked I replaced the GFCI breaker with another I had on hand. No effect. Only then did I remember that there was one never-used exterior receptacle on the circuit. I went out to examine it I saw water running down the wall from a leak around a plumbing vent.

I needed the circuit in operation immediately so I removed the receptacle and wired nutted the hots and neutrals and put a cover plate on the box. This stopped the tripping. I repaired the roof leak later.

If you think you have this problem, remove the cover plate on a suspected receptacle and direct a hair dryer into the box to see if the tripping stops.

  • Thank you for your response. I have seen no evidence of a roof leak inside or outside the house. And no evidence of moisture in the vicinity of any of the receptacles. I considered the possibility of an additional yet-to-be-discovered receptacle somewhere on the circuit, but I don't think one exists. I will have the GFCI breaker replaced and go from there. Thanks again!
    – Rich B
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 16:51

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