1

My gas oven frequently trips my GFCI outlet.

The GFCI outlet is upstream of the oven. Every outlet on that wall is on a shared circuit (I understand this is suboptimal, but I imagine there isn't a large load with just a gas oven and a Google Home plugged in).

The oven creates a lot of steam, which condenses on the backsplash. My theory is that the moisture drips down the backsplash and hits the outlet where the oven is plugged in.

When it trips, it takes 5-10 minutes until it can be reset. I believe this is because the outlet is drying out.

Interestingly, it can be reset a lot quicker if the convection fan is not used. For instance, if the GFCI trips and is reset 5 minutes later, I can turn on the oven again, but turning on the convection fan trips the GFCI. At other times, the convection fan is no problem.

Is my moisture theory correct? If so, what's the solution? Perhaps some sort of backer rod stuffed between the back of the oven and the backsplash to prevent drips from reaching the outlet?

Thanks!

  • A gas oven is a trivial load, powering only 10 watts (tops) of electronics and 25-120W incandescent oven lights (only incandescent works here). It would be silly and wasteful to put it on a dedicated circuit. Does the oven circuit power the convection fan? – Harper Apr 20 at 14:41
  • @Harper, yes. It's a button on the oven, so it's powered by the same outlet. – Peter Apr 20 at 15:40
  • That's what you call "burying the lede" :) ("lede" = main news story, it's newspaper industry jargon), pronounced like "lead the way" not lead pipe. – Harper Apr 20 at 16:44
2

It's your fan/motor...

Motors are common causes of GFCI trips because of insulation breakdown.

In your case it could be simply that. However, given that the fan's job is moving air which is particulate-laden, it is rather likely that the particulates in question (or merely dust in your house made sticky by food grease) have accumulated on the motor. The cool motor draws up hot, humid air... and condensation occurs. This wets the particulates. This makes them a good enough conductor to induce a ground fault and trip the GFCI.

You could clean the fan motor area and hope for the best. The problem may be deep inside the motor in an area impracticable to clean.

  • 1
    Interesting! The oven has been doing this since it was new (about a year ago). Does that influence your theory at all? – Peter Apr 20 at 17:34
  • @Peter I'm less concerned with the age of the oven than the age of the fan/range hood. Is there any way to connect the fan motor's hot and neutral to a line cord? I'd like to see you plug it into a different GFCI. – Harper Apr 20 at 19:35
  • 1
    Sorry, I think there's some misunderstanding here. The convection fan is an internal component of the oven. It spreads the heat around internally. It's the same age as the oven and it's powered by the same power source. – Peter Apr 21 at 3:17
  • 1
    @Peter oh, sorry! Unfortunately it's the same risk though, the fan could have a role in it, though you'd think it would be warming up with the oven, yes? That certainly lends more credence to your backsplash outlet theory though. Can you review the splices there? Make sure they don't have bare copper sticking out of the wire nuts? Maybe tape up the wire nuts (one shouldn't do that to hold them together, but to airtight them, sure.) Does the box have a cover? – Harper Apr 21 at 15:35
1

Not clear from the question whether you think the problem is a combination GFCI/receptacle or an ordinary receptacle that is on the GFCI protected circuit.

If this is a combination GFCI/receptacle then:

  • If you have the option to do so (not always an option, depending on how the circuit is configured in your breaker panel), replace the GFCI/receptacle with a plain receptacle (or a weather resistant receptacle) and replace the breaker with a GFCI breaker.

  • If it is a combination GFCI/receptacle but you can't move the GFCI protection to the panel, replace it with a weather resistant GFCI/receptacle.

  • If the GFCI that is being tripped is not a receptacle near the oven, but rather upstream (with a receptacle, but elsewhere out of the path of the oven steam, or a GFCI breaker in the panel) then replace the existing ordinary receptacle with a weather resistant receptacle.

All of these solutions are based on either upgrading to weather resistant devices, moving the GFCI (far more susceptible to problems than an ordinary receptacle) out of the problem area, or both.

Normally weather resistant receptacles (with or without GFCI) are used outdoors, but they may provide an easy solution here.

  • If his GFCI device is upstream of the oven, it should stay there. (unless that happens to be outdoors). Putting GFCIs in harsh conditions is just a good way to make them fail. – Harper Apr 20 at 14:47
  • 1
    @Harper I didn't mean put it in worse conditions. I meant, if the GFCI is in the kitchen and getting tripped because of existing already too harsh conditions, and you can't easily move it to the breaker panel, then putting in weather resistant (that is normally only needed for outside) might be a solution. – manassehkatz Apr 22 at 1:49
1

Update:

After some testing, we determined the problem was with the oven, not the outlets. For some reason, when the oven gets very hot, the oven's built-in fan trips the GFCI. I'm not sure if this is caused by moisture, expansion of some metal piece, or something else.

(It's a Wolf gas stove, for you future Googlers.)

We "fixed" it by rewiring the receptacle to be non-GFCI protected. Several websites indicate that this is safe to do for gas ovens, but do your own research.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.