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I recently remodeled a SoCal home built in 2014. We added some new GFCI outlets and there were already some existing GFCI outlets. There are occasional planned outages here and when the power comes back on, ALL the new GFCI outlets are tripped and need to be reset at the outlet. NONE of the original GFCI outlets are tripped and work just fine. There are no breakers tripped at the circuit box.

Is this normal behavior? Should I call an electrician to investigate?

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    What make and model are the new GFCIs? Aug 18 '21 at 0:59
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    Is there a help number for the manufacturer in the documentation for the new ones? Would be helpful to call them. Perhaps they are all defective. Or perhaps their design is sensitive to some condition that is happening on your line during restore. Do all the old and new ones test correctly?
    – jay613
    Aug 18 '21 at 1:12
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    When you "added some new GFCI outlets" did you connect them to each other? Or are they all properly connected to the non-GFCI line cables? Aug 18 '21 at 10:51
  • Some GFCI receptacles (in the past) used to reset with power loss, I thought all the manufacturers abandoned that as like you everyone dislikes a trip after power loss. The possibility may be that if you have multiple gfci’s on a branch circuit that the self test (mandated) is actually causing the devices to trip. You may be able to test this by turning off the breaker if they fail when you turn the breaker back on verify that there are not GFCI’s down stream from GFCI’s. Then if no down stream GFCI’s send a complaint to the manufacturer. Make sure to include the model and any date codes.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 18 '21 at 19:32
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Certain GFCIs do that on purpose.

First, follow the Q&A here to make sure you didn't install redundant GFCI receptacles.

It is perfectly common for builders to GFCI-protect circuits at the first receptacle rather than at the circuit breaker (GFCI receps are $18; GFCI breakers are $45). Every GFCI has the ability to protect a downline circuit, and indeed that is the ONLY legitimate use of the "Load" terminals.

If eliminating any redundant GFCI receptacles doesn't do the trick, next, let's look at build quality. If these things came off a mail order site (Amazon ahem), they may be cheap counterfeits/knockoffs - look for the familiar "UL" mark or the similar CSA mark, both with a 6-8 digit file number. I must urge you to go through the returns process and get your money back. These counterfeiters will never be punished any other way.

Lastly, that "trip on power failure" behavior is simply a characteristic of certain GFCI devices. They just do that; that's how they're built. In some cases, that can be a desired feature, i.e. it assures that a power interruption is noticed for equipment where that might be a concern, e.g. automated equipment with a powerline-powered clock.

A home built in 2014 will have been built under NEC 2011, which did not yet call for the huge variety of AFCI and GFCI devices required in NEC 2014 edition.

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  • This is all valid info, but it doesn't actually answer the OPs question as to whether the behavior is expected/typical or not. (Unless daisy chaining GFCI outlets is likely to cause the issue, in which case it should be specifically stated.)
    – FreeMan
    Aug 18 '21 at 18:25
  • @Freeman I bolded it for you. The other stuff is important. Aug 18 '21 at 20:09
  • OK I think you are being lazy. I even know a few reasons why the new ones trip easier... but I am not going to answer then have you explain it better :)
    – DMoore
    Aug 18 '21 at 20:45
  • @DMoore I don't think this is a "degree of sensitivity" problem. Some GFCIs are designed to do this. And some GFCIs aren't designed properly at all and have not passed safety testing. Aug 18 '21 at 21:07
  • Here in the UK we would reffer to these as "passive" and "active" RCDs, are there standard terms in the US for the different behaviours? Aug 19 '21 at 8:41

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