Hi I have a bathroom gfci which is connected to the lights , fan and receptacles in bathroom , bedroom and landing . It's about a 45 year old house . Without protecting the circuits in the bedroom how do I wire the bathroom box as there are 3 switches and the gfi in one box . At present all black wires and white wires are pigtailed together but the gfi keeps tripping , is it too much on one circuit . I think there are about 10 items , lights and receptacles total .

  • 4
    Have you tried replacing the GFCI, and have you tested the wiring for any shorts to ground? Is there a shared neutral, loads from a motor, or any smart switches that use a ground wire?
    – BMitch
    Oct 28, 2013 at 20:39
  • 1
    What have you changed (or are you currently changing)? Is this a new problem, or has the GFCI never worked? Are you installing a GFCI in this location for the first time?
    – Tester101
    Oct 29, 2013 at 11:35

2 Answers 2


GFCIs trip when the incoming "hot" current does not return on the neutral line. This situation could arise due to:

  • normal operation of an inductive device (like a motor, such as you would find in a fan or refrigerator). These devices shouldn't be on a GFCI.
  • A neutral / ground fault. This would be due to a defect in the wiring or an appliance.
  • An electric path to ground through something else, like a person. This is the primary purpose of a GFCI and the reason they're required in wet locations: to save your life!

An over-current condition should not cause the GFCI to trip. (Although it might trip the circuit breaker. Circuit breakers have entirely different purposes and detect a different category of problems.)

Note also that you can have a GFCI on a circuit without the entire circuit being protected by the GFCI outlet. Anything attached to the "load" side (e.g. downstream) of the GFCI outlet will be protected. Anything on the "line" side (e.g. upstream) will not affect the GFCI outlet.

To find out exactly where the problem is, it would be helpful to know if the GFCI outlet trips immediately after you reset it, when any device is turned on, or when a particular device is turned on.


Don't know if this reply is factual, but I have been informed by at least 2 sources, that starting load for refrigerators is quite high and that this quite often causes the GFI to trip on start-up. This also would cause any other GFI on any other circuit to also trip when the fridge is plugged into it. Also, I'm told that all GFI's are now made with a "fail point" after a period of time. This is to insure correct operation of the GFI as it get older and "weaker". Again, don 't know is that is true, but suggest replacing the GFI on the fridge circuit and see if it corrects the problem. So far, it has on ours.-------------No electrician am I Bald Mountain

  • 1
    A GFI IS NOT a circuit breaker, and does NOT trip under high current or short circuit conditions. A GFI trips due to a current imbalance between the normal current flowing on the hot and neutral. Jun 28, 2015 at 1:54

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