Very strange thing happening. House is less than an year old. This is the bathroom circuit. The only modification was an additional outlet. Everything was working fine for months. Until this morning, woke up and realize the breaker tripped. When I tried the reset the breaker, it trips immediately. I turned off all lights and unplugged all outlets, then the breaker was able to stay on. Now the strange thing is, any load on the circuit trips the breaker. Flipping any switch or plugging in any outlet causes the breaker to trip. Any idea what causing this?

  • 2
    Does the breaker have a TEST button on it? Nov 23, 2018 at 18:59
  • May be a loose neutral. No load no problem. With load doesn't balance for gfci. Check all outlets for loose wires or backstabs. Nov 23, 2018 at 19:05
  • @ThreePhaseEel yes. When I reset the breaker. There’s a blinking red light. When I press test. The breaker trips and when I reset. The light stays off.
    – YarGnawh
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:08
  • How recently was the circuit modified? Is anything plugged into the receptacles on the circuit? Can you tell if its a GFCI breaker or a GFCI-AFCI combo? Nov 23, 2018 at 21:58

2 Answers 2


It sounds like a wire may have been damaged during the install. I am guessing at this point that it is a gfci breaker since it only trips with a load. In this case I would be looking for a skinned neutral or a point in the box that the neutral and ground may now be touching. I don't believe it would be a hot wire because it holds with no load, why did it start after months? Wires relaxing , home vibrations but at least this provides a location to look in the boxes on the neutral , it could be a staple in the wiring but I would check boxes first.

  • Would removing and capping all the outlet/switch be the best way to narrow down the issue?
    – YarGnawh
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:26
  • 3
    I would try and split it in half, and see if the problem is there still. If the problem is gone work on the 1/2. That was removed from the circuit. This shouldn't take two long to isolate the problem. Even trying 1 device at a time will get you to the problem.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:58
  • It was the vanity light. Somehow the wire nut came loose.
    – YarGnawh
    Nov 23, 2018 at 22:03

Check your new wiring for a N-G fault

This sounds like the classic symptom of a neutral-to-ground fault in wiring. I would check your newly added wiring to make sure neutral is not shorted to ground anywhere in it; if that doesn't reveal anything, then check the rest of the circuit for a N-G fault -- this might be a skinned neutral wire in contact with a metal box, excess tail sticking out from a receptacle screw, or some other sort of workmanship defect.

  • Probably oversimplifying, are you saying somewhere a “white” wire is contacting the ground?
    – YarGnawh
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:29
  • @YarGnawh pretty much Nov 23, 2018 at 19:59
  • 1
    It can be something as simple as a bare ground wire which has rubbed on a neutral screw when you push it back into the box. The British actually put sleeves over their bare grounds for this reason, but then, an entire British house is on a 30ma GFCI, so they don't have much tolerance for N-G faults. Nov 23, 2018 at 22:05

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