Recently, the GFCI outlet that "powers" our back patio has started tripping. Initially, I thought the outlet was old since this only started recently (and we use our patio regularly), so I replaced it with a new one, but it still trips -- sometimes within seconds, sometimes after 10 minutes or so.
Downstream from the GFCI are two outdoor ceiling fans and three standard outlets. I've unplugged everything from the outlets and switched the fans and lights on the ceiling fans off. However, the GFCI still trips.
All three outlets + GFCI outlet have bubble covers on them.
Wiring runs like this:
Breaker --> light switch (inside) --> GFCI outlet (outside) --> 3 outlets / 2 fans
(All outdoor wires are run through PVC or metal conduit.)
At this point, my guess is that I have a short somewhere. Question is: is there a best way to troubleshoot this? I'd rather not have to take down the fans to determine if they're the cause, but if that's what I have to do, so be it. Also, is there an obvious reason why the trip sometimes happens immediately but sometimes after a few minutes?
My plan is to disconnect the load lines from the GFCI and see if it still trips. My assumption, however, is that it won't and I'll have to work down the line to see where the fault is.