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We have a GFCI outlet in our kitchen that has been tripping pretty regularly (4+ times a day). We first noticed it when our fridge would go out. (Breaker Box Circuit "A") We assumed the problem was the fridge. I unplugged it, dusted it and plugged it back it. That did not solve the problem. So we plugged it into another outlet in the kitchen using an extension cord. The GFCI continued to trip.

Also on the GFCI circuit is the computer in another room. (Breaker Box Circuit "B"). We took the computer off the outlet and plugged it into another. Since then we haven't have any tripping issues.

We have had this setup for 4+ years and never had issues until about a month ago. I initially plan to replaced the GFCI outlet.

Unfortunately, I do not have schematic diagram of the wiring.

My questions are as follows:

  1. Why / How do the GFCI's cross breaker circuits?
  2. Does the problem seem worse than a bad outlet?
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    There seem to be a few holes in your logic. How does "dusting" an appliance eliminate it as a fault suspect? Was the alternative outlet also protected by the GFCI? How can the same GFCI be on two separate breaker circuits? If eliminating the computer resolved the issue, why isn't it the suspect device? – isherwood Oct 2 '17 at 17:49
  • Yeah, this sounds like denial of the form "the X protective device tripped, surely my appliance can't have X problem, it must be the detector right?" We need to help test that definitively, by understanding which receptacles are protected by the tripping GFCI device (i.e. go out when it trips) and which are not, or which other circuits have GFCI devices and which those trip. And move this PC around to other GFCI circuits and see if it trips any other. – Harper Oct 2 '17 at 18:09
  • @isherwood - Thanks for pointing out that whole in my logic. It could very well be the computer. – staples Oct 2 '17 at 18:30
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Computers use a switching power supply so it is possible the GFCI has grown weak or sensitive with age and now sees the computer as a ground fault problem.

It is also possible the computer power supply is failing and is causing the tripping.

Try running everything but the computer on the circuit for a while and see what happens. If it trips again try replacing the receptacle with a new GFCI.

Good luck!

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