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I have a GFCI outlet in a bedroom that I use as an office that randomly trips. This is very infrequent, maybe once a month and doesn't seem to be connected to electricity usage on the circuit (computer off, lights off, only the internet box running is the most often situation). It's behind a bookcase and it's a pain when it shuts off and we are trying to use the internet elsewhere in the house.

I'm assuming that the current GFCI is faulty due to the infrequent random nature of the issue, and I feel comfortable replacing the outlet, but I don't see a reason that it should be a GFCI. As stated, it's in a bedroom with no running water or water of any kind. There are a couple of floor mounted outlets in the room so I wondered if that was the reason for the GFCI but that's the only thing I could think of. There is a bathroom on the other side of the wall which I believe may be on the same circuit, but the only outlet in that room is a GFCI, and it never has issues.

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  • I agree "behind a bookcase" is a very unworkable location for a GFCI receptacle. Which other receptacles are protected by that GFCI? (they lose power when it trips). – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 7 '20 at 19:42
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    I'm not sure any of us peering through the internet would be comfortable enough to advise doing so as we don't know why it was installed to begin with. – isherwood Dec 7 '20 at 19:44
  • The whole bedroom loses power when it trips. That's it- now that I think about it the bathroom may be a different circuit. Thanks for the question and the comment Harper. – Walter Dec 7 '20 at 19:52
  • @isherwood, I totally understand. I could just replace the GFCI with a new one, it's just in an annoying place in the house. Do you know of any other reasons that a GFCI might be in a bedroom? The only reasons I can find for GFCI placement have to do with being near water (bathroom, kitchen) or a garage or outdoors. Thanks for your comment. – Walter Dec 7 '20 at 20:02
  • You don't say where you are or what era the home is from, but in my part of the world, when GFCI requirements were first implemented a common strategy was to protect a garage, for example, from an outlet in a bathroom. You can imagine the confusion and hassle that results decades later. I suggest that you map your entire home in a spreadsheet by breaker. It'll really help clarify things. Make a copy of that one as a basis if you like and tape it inside your panel. – isherwood Dec 7 '20 at 20:09
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Are you sure it is a GFCI or could it be an AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet? They look the same on the outside, although some responsible mfrs do put the letters "AFCI" or "AFCI/GFCI" on the face so that you know. GFCIs have no place in a bedroom, but starting with the 1999 code (2002 in Canada), AFCIs are now required in all bedroom outlets. Most of the time this is being done with AFCI breakers, but if your house was older and someone had to bring it up to code because of a renovation, it may have been simpler and cheaper to use AFCI outlets, especially if it's just the first outlet in a string.

One of the potential drawbacks of early AFCIs has been a tendency for them to falsely trip when electronic devices are plugged into them (which is now virtually everything). More recent releases have addressed these issues and are a lot more reliable, so replacing it with a newer AFCI receptacle may be something to consider.

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  • I'll look into this. If anything the philosophy of the guy who remodeled the house was "simpler and cheaper." We don't plug anything into this outlet, would it be possible for something else to be falsely tripping it? – Walter Dec 8 '20 at 1:25

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