Hot answers tagged

45

Defective receptacle. Kill it with fire, before it kills you with fire. And if it has backstab connections (wires jabbed in back holes that auto-grab them) this is a good time to get rid of em. Because they cause this kind of mischief too.


26

Not worth the risk GFCI (whether in receptacles or breakers) are sensitive, life safety electronic items. As such, you don't want to mess with them. In fact, the whole purpose of the TEST/RESET buttons is because they can fail, even without obvious problems such as a flood. Newer models even test automatically. Is it possible that there is simply still ...


23

Yes you can be electrocuted even with an operating GFCI. A GFCI will only trip if current goes from the hot and does not return on the neutral. That means it will trip if you stick a fork into the hot and jump into the bathtub / touch the fridge while holding it (because the current on the hot is NOT seen on the neutral - the power is escaping through the ...


23

Shirlock has a great answer; I just wanted to point out something. There are two major different designs for back-wiring, "push-in" and "side-clamp". Push-in wiring, sometimes branded "QuickWire", uses holes in the plastic casing, underneath which are sharp spring-loaded cleats that catch and hold the wire when you put it in. To remove them, you take a ...


22

This happens all the time if an exterior GFCI is not weather-resistant. I've never had a weather resistant GFCI go up in smoke. Yes, they can be in a metal box, but they still should be marked WR (weather resistant) - this means the electronics inside are coated to reduce the chances of moisture causing exactly what happened with your GFCI. If it had ...


21

The first problem is that you may be using the wrong cable and breakers. NEC calls for 2 20Amp small appliance circuits in the kitchen, to accomplish this you'll need to switch to 20Amp breakers and #12 wire. The next problem. You'll have to pull new wire anyway, if you want to hook up GFCI receptacles. GFCI receptacles will not work properly with a shared ...


21

You should never chain two GFCI circuits together. When you install a GFCI circuit, you should only ever chain standard outlets off of them. Multiple GFCI on the same circuit can cause each other to trip. So yes, what you want to do is actually what you should do. What you do need to do, however, is make sure you connect the new outlet to the LOAD ...


21

It's worse than that. The cables are done too. Most houses are wired with Romex (NM) cable. That's not rated for getting wet. It has paper packing inside the sheath that just wicks water like crazy. If the people who built the house were flood savvy, they built with UF cable, which is wet-rated and notably does not have that paper packing. It will ...


20

Why play with electricity like that? Install one of these: For use while connected: or, for occasional temporary use where it can be closed and unused during wet weather:


19

Chances are about 90% that you have a loose connection in the outlet. If I had to guess, I'd say it is a "stab-in" wire connection on the back of the outlet (as opposed to the wire attaching with a screw), so that when you plug something into that outlet, it pushes the connector tighter onto the wire to complete the connection, but when you remove it, the ...


18

If wired correctly, this is fine. GFCI outlets typically have line terminals (power input) and load terminals (power to other outlets, which will be protected by the GFCI.) Your contractor will have wired the outlet in the second bathroom to the load terminals of the GFCI in the main bathroom. There should also be a sticker on the outlet stating that it is ...


18

This whole thing is a hot mess. That breaker MUST be changed to 15 amps immediately. First, you have 14 AWG wire in the curcuit, yet the breaker is 20A. That's not allowed. Since the smallest wire in the circuit is 14 AWG, the breaker can be no larger than 15A. The fact that it's downstream of a 12AWG section makes no difference at all. The GFCI does ...


17

GFCI receptacles have two sets of contacts, line, and load. The Line side of the receptacle is used to power the device, while the load side is used to power other devices down the line. Any device connected to the load side of a GFCI receptacle, will be protected by the GFCI receptacle. For example, if you have a setup like this (which I assume you have)....


17

Finding the first There's really no substitute for opening boxes, unhooking wires and turning the circuit on and taking measurements. You open up your believed-closest box, and remove the wires you think are downstream (away from the panel). Tape off the loose wires so they can't short against anything, and plug a 3-light tester or nightlight. Then go ...


16

No. Each type of device serves a distinctly separate protective purpose. Breaker A circuit breaker detects overcurrent faults, it does not detect ground faults. A circuit breaker will stop your house catching fire when the wiring in the walls overheats from prolonged overcurrent, it wont stop you and your family being killed by electrocution. A typical ...


15

The NEC (NFPA 70 2011 edition) requires GFCI receptacles in kitchens of dwelling units where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces. It does not mention a distance requirement in kitchens. The distance requirement of 1.8 meters (6 feet) is for sinks located in areas other than kitchens. Section 210.8 A of NFPA 70 2011 Edition deals ...


15

There are no NEC guides, UL and CSA rules on or approves devices. The reason I commented on using back wiring on GFI's, is that if you look carefully inside the holes, you will see a barbed plate that compresses on the wire when the side screw is tightened. You will also notice because the device itself is very wide, there is little barrier space around the ...


14

Not an uncommon problem. I have had a lot of problems with GFI's the last few years myself. There are a few likely causes: A fault still exists and will not allow the GFI to reset. The GFI tripped due to an overload and the differential circuit was damaged, thus the outlet is now toast. This seems to be a common complaint with standard 15 amp GFIC's. they ...


14

Device instructions do not have any standing to decide what NEC does or does not say. However, device instructions can, and do, make declarations about how the device itself may be used. And these have the force of law. NEC 110.3(B) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions ...


14

There's no point First, a GFCI receptacle can protect regular receptacles downstream (that's why there are LOAD terminals on them downstream). Second, connecting two GFCIs in series creates a race condition if a ground fault is placed downstream of the 2nd GFCI -- it's indeterminate which one trips (it's even possible for both to trip on the same fault, as ...


13

Step One, which I do for every home I occupy, is to do a thorough map of the circuit breakers by simple trial-and-error. Check every outlet, light, and wired appliance in the home. Print a nice list of what each breaker protects and tape it over the cryptic scribbles left by sparky. Here's my Google sheet for those who'd like it. I left my data in it as an ...


12

Sounds like the circuit is sharing a neutral with another circuit. With your GFCI breaker installed, turn off all other breakers. Reset the GFCI breaker, which should now hold. If it does not hold, then you have a problem with the wiring on that circuit and need to open each box to investigate. If the GFCI breaker does hold, turn each breaker on one at a ...


12

Neutrals shouldn't be connected together with the GFCI. Connect the neutral of the line and load to the appropriate connections on each side of the GFCI. Otherwise, the current will appear to go out via the hot connection and not return via the neutral on the load side of the connection, which is exactly the scenario that the GFCI detects and trips on. Also,...


12

Probably no reason to use a WR outlet. The "WR" rating may not mean what you think it means. The primary difference between a WR outlet and a regular one is the WR one uses a special kind of plastic that does not get as brittle when cold and has better UV protection so it does not get damaged by direct sunlight. It does not provide any additional water ...


11

All outlets that support convenience plug in items within 8 feet of a water source must be GFI protected. However, the new NEC calls for a separate non GFI circuit (home run) for the fridge or other fixed appliances. These non protected circuits must be single purpose and wired to a single outlet or direct wired and dedicated to the appliance. This can ...


11

I would start troubleshooting by disconnecting the Load side of the GFCI, this will tell you if the problem is upstream or downstream from the receptacle. Turn off the breaker supplying the GFCI. Disconnect the wires on the Load side of the GFCI. Turn the breaker back on. Press the reset button on the GFCI. If the GFCI resets with nothing connected to ...


11

This is the correct behavior. You only need 1 GFCI outlet per circuit (assuming it's at the beginning of the line and the rest of the outlets are loads). They are correctly wired in parallel - if they were in series, you wouldn't get the correct voltage at the other outlets when there is any type of load present.


11

Residential Kitchen In a dwelling unit (residential), GFCI protection is only required for kitchen receptacles that serve the countertop surfaces. There's no requirement to GFCI protect receptacles that serve a refrigerator. Unless the fridge is plugged into a countertop receptacle. National Electrical Code 2014 Chapter 2 Wiring and Protection ...


11

The top few possible reasons are: Ease of access- it's easier to reset a tripped GFCI in the same room. Easier to retrofit- it's easier for a homeowner to install a receptacle than to dig around in the panel. Even if this type of panel work is trivial, most people just aren't comfortable with it. Cost- one GFCI receptacle is cheaper than a GFCI breaker. If ...


11

Effective June 29, 2015, all GFCI receptacles and circuit breakers must have an auto-monitoring (self-test) feature that automatically conducts a periodic internal test to confirm that the GFCI is able respond to a ground fault. If a problem is detected, the GFCI must trip and deny power or provide a visual and/or audible indication. Green Status Dual ...


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