My bathroom, like most, has a GFI outlet. It trips ALL the time even thought nothing is plugged into any outlet. I know people say they go "bad" all the time but it seems silly how mine is set up. It will trip when I turn on the lights every month or so. When it does, the entire bathroom loses power instead of just that plug.

This set up seems to be the same for my office and all of my outside outlets. Both 20 amp circuits have a single GFI plug on a regular breaker and will kill power to the entire circuit. Is it safe to replace these plugs with a standard plug and use a GFI breaker on this circuit to prevent random trips? Is my set up odd or am I just crazy thinking the GFI outlet should only kill power to that outlet?

  • 2
    Why do you think that using a GFCI breaker will improve the situation? I think you'll have the same problem but a less convenient way to reset. It's true a GFCI can go bad, especially when they trip often, It's more likely tho that you have ground faults. A better solution might be to rewire the circuit and make downstream outlets GFCI's themselves and not us the "load" terminals on the current GFCI's for anything, whether that works and keeps you up code depends on what is on the circuits (more info would be needed).
    – Tyson
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 13:19
  • @Tyson I was under the assumption that the outlet would go bad far before the breaker and likely trip less.
    – S3S
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 15:04
  • Usually when a GFCI outlet "goes bad" it just won't reset anymore. Only very occasionally you will find one that's bad where the effect is random tripping. You should try replacing it as is as the first step. If random tripping continues and there isn't an obvious cause then you should look at making every required outlet it's own GFCI and eliminate the daisy chaining.
    – Tyson
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 15:10
  • @Tyson thanks. Can you explain why it trips when nothing is plugged in on that circuit and I just turn on a light? I always thought the GFI outlet should be the last node on the circuit to prevent this?
    – S3S
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 15:16
  • 2
    What's on the circuit besides the light? What kind of light is it? How old is the construction? It's only takes 5 milliamps of "leakage" to trip the GFCI, it's sensitive. Is there a bath fan involved? "Last node" is similar to rewiring the circuit and using multiple GFCI's instead of one to eliminate or isolate the issue.
    – Tyson
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


I would replace the GFCI outlet with a new one. The breakers do go bad and would be more of a pain to reset. I have seen gfci's that tripped every time the power cycled replaced and the problem was gone. If you want one that might last a bit longer get a weather resistant one. The electronics are coated so moisture won't affect the circuitry.

  • 1
    I agree. I had the same situation with a bathroom socket, and a kitchen socket - both tripped randomly without load and since being replaced, both now behaving properly. I have an outdoor socket that will get the same treatment shortly.
    – F1Rumors
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 11:34

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