GFCI foibles - Graybeard Outdoors
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2020, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Default GFCI foibles

Anyone know what makes these things kick out for no good reason? I tried to put one on an outlet circuit in the basement kitchen and do it according to code like a good boy. Anything I plugged in to it tripped it. Finally I got fed up with the outlet type, and just put one in at the breaker box. Well great! I plugged in a fan and it ran. Then I plugged in a drill along with the fan and it tripped. Today I spent yet another day out of my life at cutting half the outlets off and putting them on another circuit. Then went outside with a grass whip and took out my frustrations on some weeds. Haven't tried the gfci circuit yet, but if tomorrow is a repeat of past adventures, I'll skip the code. And I still have the bathroom heater to contend with.
Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 10:10 PM
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My guess is you have a wiring or panel problem. I am not an electrician but I know the GFI is supposed to trip when it encounters uneven current between the hot and neutral wires. Call a pro, and sleep better.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 07:22 AM
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Sometimes it is just that particular GFCI breaker/outlet itself. A cheap test is to replace that GFCI outlet or breaker and see if behaves or not. Some are overly sensitive.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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So far, the outlet GFI is working ok on it's half of kitchen outlets. The one in the breaker box is acting better now too. According to the guys who do this for a living, GFI circuits work best the fewer outlets they monitor. So cutting the circuit in half gives each half four instead of eight. Apparently eight is too many. Live and learn. Had the same trouble 40 years ago when it was originally wired. And there were probably twice that many outlets. So I took the GFI breakers out. Everything worked great till the fire! (It was the toaster).
Another kink is that the GFI breaker is also AFCI. So when it trips, its just a guess which is the problem. I'm getting close to being done, but still have another circuit to troubleshoot. Be glad when we can finally put up the drywall.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2020, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles p View Post
My guess is you have a wiring or panel problem. I am not an electrician but I know the GFI is supposed to trip when it encounters uneven current between the hot and neutral wires. Call a pro, and sleep better.
They actually detect if there is voltage between neutral and ground which creates a potentially dangerous situation. And yes, if you have that, you need a pro to find and fix the problem.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 07:19 PM
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I don't recommend plugging a freezer into a GDFI circuit. Especially if the freezer is in a basement or garage or anywhere you will not immediately notice the detector has tripped.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2020, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
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I don't recommend plugging a freezer into a GDFI circuit. Especially if the freezer is in a basement or garage or anywhere you will not immediately notice the detector has tripped.
Great point.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2020, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Kitchen code for GFI circuits applies only to counter top outlets, or within six feet of the sink. So I'm good on the freezers. Had to check though, couldn't remember. I think the two outlets for the freezers are the only ones on that circuit. Fridge needs a dedicated circuit for the code. Also for a dish washer or garbage disposal, which I don't plan on putting in. (getting tired of running wires for "just in case"), and getting tired of buying more wire for sure. I don't plan on putting drywall on the ceiling except for the bedroom, so it won't be that bad of a job to do later on.

There is another head scratcher. I need to access both breaker panals for a generator, as I have one on the main floor and one in the basement. So do I need two pole disconnects? Really don't want to back feed it though a breaker. (This was supposed to be done by the electrician who wired the main floor, but he really didn't want to do it).
At present, if we need the gen, its a cord through the window.
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