5

I completely lost power only in bathroom, so I reset the GFCI and then I turned on the light switch. As soon as I flipped the light switch up the lights flashed on then off and the GFCI outlet made a clicking sound. Reset GFCI again and the outlet has power but as soon as I flip up the light switch the outlet loses power. So, the outlet retains power until I flip light switch, lights don't work at all except for when it flashes on/off when I reset GFCI and flip up the light switch. I reset everything on breaker still no luck. Can anyone help?

9

You have a short to ground on your light fixture circuit somewhere and the GFCI is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. In bathroom light fixtures, the culprit is usually corrosion and/or condensation build-up.

  • Would you know how would I go about fixing issue with light fixture? – B Bennett May 30 at 17:10
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    @J.Raefield I'll be darned. A useful use for WD-40 (other than killing wasps, of course). – Harper May 30 at 18:31
  • Hmmm... so the WD might mean Wasp Death? Side note: WD-40 works fantastic when you get your car engine wet and it won't work. I always carry a can in the winter (or summer if I'm going to wet places). – J. Raefield May 31 at 2:16
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    @J.Raefield WD-40 is ridiculously flammable - deliberately spraying WD-40 into a potentially shorting electrical fixture is beyond foolish. You might as well throw gasoline on it. Don't do this. You could easily start a fire that will start hot, burn fast, and be difficult to extinguish. Seriously. – J... May 31 at 14:27
  • Did you notice that I said WITH THE POWER OFF? – J. Raefield May 31 at 19:00
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One of two things. Either

  • you just installed this GFCI, and you miswired it quite badly, probably relating to removing the warning sticker on the LOAD terminals.
  • The lights are wired to be protected from ground faults by the GFCI. The light developed a ground fault, and the GFCI detected this, and tripped to protect you, as intended.
  • Both at once: you just installed (correctly) and something downline has a ground fault. This is always a risk when you add a GFCI and use LOAD.

In the latter case, remove the bulb and see if the trip goes away (don't get your hopes up, it's just easy.) If not, remove the fixture. If it stops tripping, it's the fixture, fix it. If it still trips, it's elsewhere in the circuit.

If you just wired up the GFCI today, then either significantly school up on how GFCI protection works and how to properly use LOAD terminals, or just don't use them.

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    "remove the light" bulb, +1. For anyone where that doesn't solve the problem, and whom has to ask this kind of question, there's nothing further to disclose (for their own safety). – Mazura May 31 at 2:39
  • What is it that people get wrong with this? Connect the neutral meant for the load side with the line side or something? – JimmyJames May 31 at 16:02
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    @JimmyJames Often the lighting circuit is wired with one wire pulling off the spare receptacle screw, and the other wire off a pigtail. When these wires are cut-and-pasted onto the GFCI, only one wire is placed on LOAD, the other still in the pigtail. – Harper May 31 at 16:36

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