when i plugin my vacuum cleaner to my bathroom GFCI outlet without turning on the vacuum the GFCI outlet trips. but it works in any other outlets

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    PLease provide sufficient detail: "other outlets" on the same GFCI run, or outlets elsewhere on a different GFCI run, or outlets NOT behind a GFCI? Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 14:18
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    Does it work in other GFCI outlets? You know what a GFCI does, right? It's a ground fault detector, it's looking for faulty appliances. Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 18:20

3 Answers 3


There are two possibilities:

  • False Positive

This is rare, but it can happen. More likely with AFCI (because it has a more complex problem detection mechanism) than with GFCI. Extremely unlikely when the plugged in device is off, which is the specific situation here.

  • True Positive

This means your vacuum cleaner has a ground fault. That is a potentially serious problem. It could be a design issue, but if it used to work and now it doesn't work then it points to a problem such as worn out insulation that is allowing a small amount of current to leak to ground, which will then trip the GFCI.

The way to tell for sure (well, reasonably sure) is to plug the vacuum cleaner into a different GFCI. GFCI has been required for bathroom receptacles and kitchen countertop receptacles for many years, so if you have a GFCI in the bathroom there is a good chance you have a GFCI in the kitchen. If the problem does not happen on any other GFCI then it may indeed be a bad GFCI. If the problem happens on every GFCI then you have a bad vacuum cleaner.

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    Think they were required in bathrooms before being required in kitchens. Early 90s addition only had GFCI in bathroom and outdoor, none in the the kitchen(done by license electrician).
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 12:32
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    @crip659 nope the original requirement for GFCI’s was for bathrooms and to prevent electrocution's from a device like a hair dryer in the tub. As the NEC can not mandate a update to bathrooms all hair dryers were required to have HFCI protection.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 2:35
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    Concur with reply, if it’s truly a gfci not an afci protected circuit, you’ve Likely got a fault in the vacuum!
    – mark f
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 16:28

With the vacuum turned off there is only 1 possibility. Yes the vacuum could be totally save but have a lighted switch , to ground 6 ma and the GFCI trips

OR another failure.

The cord set has a indirect fault to ground both are the same to the GFCI more than 6ma flowing in the hot to earth and the reason for a trip where a normal outlet works fine.

In both cases it is the same fault an imbalance on the hot and neutral.

One is a valid Ground fault the other is not as the vacuum is operating (or not in this case switch off).

  • finally someone with some sense and logic
    – Traveler
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 22:14

maybe your GFCI is just doing its job.

Test it by pushing the Test button.

Since it triggers the GFCI without turning on the power to vacuum cleaner it could be wear and tear off the vacuum cleaner cable.

Vacuum cleaner cable are exposed to high stress levels, twisting, coiling, pulling, dog ?

Either on the cable plug side or on the vacuum cleaner connection, there might be a very small short inside the cable, that would not show when plugging in regular outlets.

If the GFCI is defective it will trigger even when you plug in Hairdryer.

Inspect the vacuum cable connection to the vacuum, repair or replace.

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    I would open up the vacuum first and make sure all thee conductors are attached. And make sure no junk got inside the canister and is potentially shorting stuff out. Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 13:55

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