apparent GFCI problem

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  #1  
Old 04-19-04, 05:53 PM
Matt_S
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apparent GFCI problem

Greetings
This is my first visit to this forum. I can't believe I didn't think before now to check the internet for something like this do it yourself forum duh

My house has a GFCI in the downstairs bathroom. It seems that the outlets in the garage and on the deck are downstream from it. Also, the 2 upstairs bathrooms appear to be downstream as well. The bath off the master bedroom has a dual outlet box on it, the one in the "main" bath has a dual outlet with a light switch all under the same face plate, although the light switch is not protected by the GFCI.

Here is my problem. A while back, the 2 upstairs outlets went "dead." Everything else coming off the GFCI continued to work fine. Popping the GFCI breaker with the test button and then resetting it has not brought power back to the outlets. This past weekend, they were live again for a day and a half, then went dead. I have a fair to middling knowledge of electricity and I know this cannot be a total anomaly, any ideas what I can check to see where the problem lies?
 
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Old 04-19-04, 06:06 PM
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The wiring you describe is typical of houses built not recently but not that long ago either.

Sounds like you have a failing connection, probably a failing backstab. Search this forum for the word "backstab". You'll get flooded with ideas, because these things fail all the time.

I suggest you invest 8 bucks in a plug-in outlet tester (the kind with three lights). It will help narrow down the problem.
 
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Old 04-19-04, 06:11 PM
WFO
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Since most electrical problems are not self-healing, at first glance it sounds like a bad connection. Try flipping the breaker that feeds these two bathrooms to get an idea of which plugs/devices are on the same circuit. Then start taking off faceplates and checking for loose connections.
 
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Old 04-19-04, 07:42 PM
Matt_S
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Thanks, I'll take your advice and post back my results
 
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Old 05-03-04, 09:37 AM
cckleung
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GFCI Reset won't RESET

I have a GFCI outlet with the TEST/RESET buttons in the bathroom downstair and it's connected to the bathrooms upstair. One day I found out that I am not getting any power from the plug in the bathroom upstair so I try to RESET the GFCI outlet in the bathroom downstair but the RESET button won't RESET. When I push the RESET button, it pops back out right away. I removed the wiring (load) from the GFCI and I the RESET button can be reset (button goes in). Once I connect the load back to the GFCI, the RESET button pops out again. I bought a new GFCI outlet and it behaves the same way. If I by-pass the GFCI (connect directly to the power source) then everything works. Can anyone tell me what's wrong with my setup?
 
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Old 05-03-04, 09:38 AM
cckleung
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I have a GFCI outlet with the TEST/RESET buttons in the bathroom downstair and it's connected to the bathrooms upstair. One day I found out that I am not getting any power from the plug in the bathroom upstair so I try to RESET the GFCI outlet in the bathroom downstair but the RESET button won't RESET. When I push the RESET button, it pops back out right away. I removed the wiring (load) from the GFCI and I the RESET button can be reset (button goes in). Once I connect the load back to the GFCI, the RESET button pops out again. I bought a new GFCI outlet and it behaves the same way. If I by-pass the GFCI (connect directly to the power source) then everything works. Can anyone tell me what's wrong with my setup?
 
  #7  
Old 05-03-04, 10:07 AM
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What is wrong is that you have a ground fault on the load side of the GFCI. You should not be using this circuit with this problem. You should immediately shut the circuit down until you find and correct the ground fault.
 
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Old 05-03-04, 10:17 AM
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ccklueng,
Your question should probably go on it's own "thread" (use "start new thread" or "post new message" button) so people can see it without going into this thread, but...

You have a true ground fault somewhere. Check for plugs outside that might be on the same GFCI and may have gotten wet or been invaded by animals or bugs. Ants are a common problem here in Texas. Unplug anything that's plugged into the GFCI protected circuit and try to reset the GFCI. If it resets, carefully plug one thing in at a time until it trips - the last thing plugged in is probably defective and may present a shock hazard. If you still cannot find the problem, please have the circuit looked at by a professional electrician. There could be a dangerous situation present.

Doug M.
 
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Old 05-03-04, 10:21 AM
cckleung
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Can anyone suggest me ways to find the ground fault?

Originally Posted by racraft
What is wrong is that you have a ground fault on the load side of the GFCI. You should not be using this circuit with this problem. You should immediately shut the circuit down until you find and correct the ground fault.
 
  #10  
Old 05-03-04, 10:25 AM
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Yup.

Doug M.
 
  #11  
Old 05-03-04, 10:30 AM
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Disconnect all downstream outlets. Connect them up, adding one outlet at a time. When you find the outlet that is bad either the device at the outlet is bad or the wiring from the previous outlet is bad. If replacing the device does not work then you will have to replace the wiring.
 
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