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I'm at my troubleshooting limit, double checking all the grounds, caps are tight and no cross wires.
If it tripped as soon as I turned the light switch on it would make sense but it's not until 15+min after I switch the lights off that the GFCI trips.
Will a faulty GFCI outlet be the culprit or something else?

  • What's the context. GFCI you just installed? Did you put anything on the LOAD terminals? What and why? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 21 '18 at 0:29
  • Bathroom remodel. Swapped regular outlet with GFCI, put light switch controlling existing light and new fan on load. The switch is located within a foot of the sink so it needs to be on the load of GFCI – Joey M Peterson Sep 21 '18 at 0:39
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    The requirement for GFCI protection in bathrooms is for receptacles only, BTW – ThreePhaseEel Sep 21 '18 at 0:58
  • Even so, I've wired lots of bathrooms this way with no problems. Even if it's not code I do it that way because of the amount of moisture in bathrooms. Does anyone have an answer to why a GFCI would trip 15+min after everything is off/nothing plugged in – Joey M Peterson Sep 21 '18 at 1:10
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    P.S. the rationale behind not GFCI-protecting bathroom lights is to avoid a situation where you're holding a curling iron, the GFCI trips, and now you're holding a hot thing in the dark. – ThreePhaseEel Sep 21 '18 at 2:43
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When in doubt, don't use LOAD

Generally when people fit GFCI+receptacle combo devices, what they look for and expect is for this receptacle to have GFCI protection. They don't have any expectations or plans to protect other stuff also.

So leave LOAD alone. LOAD comes with tape across it, and the tape roughly says "Do Not Use. Wizards Only." Leave the tape on. If you need to land 2+ wires, put them all on LINE -- either by pigtailing or using the "screw to clamp" feature on some GFCIs.

What the wizards know is that LOAD has a very specific purpose: to extend GFCI protection beyond this receptacle to other devices. That may seem like a no-brainer, "everything's safer with GFCI", "what could possibly go wrong" but it means any of those devices can also trip the GFCI and you are stuck with that, even if it sucks. So wizards do not extend protection lightly. They do it precisely where they mean to!

Bathrooms and LOAD

Bathrooms are the worst for this because a) wiring often has a switch and receptacle adjacent, and that invites a neutral imbalance error; b) you have lots of old, damp machines in bathrooms that are grounded and aren't dangerous, or that are old fluorescents; and c) there's a safety issue of failure of a dangerous tool tripping the light also, and plunging the tool user into the dark, whether it's a circular saw or curler, it's equally bad. So there's an arguable case in bathrooms for not protecting more than the receptacle.

Often the use of LOAD terminals boils down to "I still have 2 extra wires, and I see those 2 extra screws to attach them to". That's using LOAD lightly, just as the wizards warn about.

So I would absolutely not bust up their drywall to mess with cable runs. Just remove everything off LOAD on that GFCI and put it on LINE. At that point nothing can trip the GFCI except things plugged into the sockets.

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  • Thank u for the advice, I'll probably live by these rules. That and make sure not to screw through the wiring ever again. – Joey M Peterson Sep 21 '18 at 15:17
  • @Harper generally good answer. Except, when a GFCI trips, one should figure out exactly why, and not just move to load. (well if one is competent enough). In this case, as the OP answer shows, there actually was an issue to correct that the GFCI identified. (unclear why it would take 15 minutes though) – Jeffrey supports Monica Sep 21 '18 at 15:29
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Figured it out... The answer was a misplaced screw through the wiring in the ceiling. Dumbest thing.

would you look at that!!

what I had to rip down to find out what was wrong

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