GFCI failure?

Old 03-17-04, 02:03 PM
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GFCI failure?

The outlets in my 3 bathrooms are all connected with one GFCI outlet in the downstairs powder room. Under normal conditions, re-charging electric toothbrushes and nightlights are the only things plugged into those outlets. My pre-teen daughter, however, plugged a few hair styling appliances in at the same time in an upstairs bathroom and tripped the receptacle in the powder room. I reset it, and explained the old one-heat-generating-applicance-at-a-time rule. To my knowledge, she followed the rule. The other day I noticed no power in the outlets in my bathroom. A quick check downstairs showed me that the GFCI was tripped. I could not reset it. I shut off the breaker and pushed the button in, just to make sure it was not something simple like the button being broken. Flipping the power back on tripped it again (with nothing plugged into any of the outlets). I am comfortable replacing receptacles, just wondering if there is a clear way to determine which need to be replaced, since I cannot get power to any of them.
Thanks for any advice!
Old 03-17-04, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
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Sounds like the gfci is detecting a fault. Start by removing the wires from the load side of the gfci. If it will reset then the problem is downstream. You need to systematically disconnect parts of the circuit to find the problem. It is possible that there is an outside receptacle on this circuit. Maybe some moisture has gotten in it.
Old 03-17-04, 02:23 PM
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I am pretty sure that there are no outside outlets on the circuit. The house is only 6 years old and the panel is labeled very clearly. There are breakers for outside switches, and one that says simply "bathroom outlets". The moisture issue raised a red flag for me though. If a plug sat in some water (my kids' bathroom is notoriously a mess) and then was plugged into the outlet, could that permanently damage the receptacle? I'm reasonably certain that the receptacke in the kids' bathroom is the problem. Would it make sense for me to just buy a replacement receptacle for that room and hope for the best?
Old 03-17-04, 02:31 PM
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As previously indicated, there could simply be moisture in that box. You might just be able to dry it out (with a hair dryer plugged in somewhere else). But for a couple bucks, I'd replace the receptacle. It might or might not work, but it's a worthy shot.

The experiment Joe mentioned is also a good thing to try.

Or you could try replacing the GFCI receptacle itself (although I'd certainly try Joe's experiment first).

Do these in whatever order you're most comfortable with.

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