Question about repeated problems with GFI

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  #1  
Old 09-07-05, 09:51 AM
hm369
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Question Question about repeated problems with GFI

In my newly remodled and rewired bathroon, my electrician installed a GFI receptical/switch. When he first installed it, all parts of it worked. The switch operates a light in my shower and it will turn on and off the light. The receptical outlet, however, does not work at all. The test and reset buttons do not function and will not trip the light in th eshower. The switch/receptical unit has been replaced twice in the past 8 months. Could there be something wrong with my wiring that is causing the GFI recepticals to stop working?
 
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  #2  
Old 09-07-05, 10:09 AM
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If the receptacle worked when first installed (and nobody has changed the wiring), and if it now no longer works then you have a bad switch/receptacle or some portion of the wiring has come loose.

If you have replaced the switch/receptacle then you may very well have caused the problem.

Tell us all the wires in the box and how they are connected. Connect to anything. The switch/receptacle, each other, anything.
 
  #3  
Old 09-07-05, 10:38 AM
hm369
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I'm sorry if I was unclear with my question.

I did not replace the unit. The same electrician that wired the bathroom and the rest of my house replaced it because the previous units in that spot had the same issue. It seems odd to me that all three of the units that have been placed there have the same problem. As I am not an electrician, I have no intention of even looking at the wiring myself. I was hoping for opinions on why I these units are failing. And frankly, I am trying to decide if I should call another electrician (and start complaining to my general contractor) or if this guy is just having a run of bad luck with this particular model of switch/receptical. Any help that you could offer on those issues would be appreciated. Additionally, if there is another forum that would be better suited for my questions, plaese direct me there.
 
  #4  
Old 09-07-05, 10:53 AM
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It would be unusual for three devices to all exhibit the same problem, unless they all came from the same batch. However, if they all work properly for some period of time and then stop working then there is either a problem with the devices or with the wiring that just happens to show up and mimic a problem with the device. Can you tell if the devices are different brands (did you maybe see the boxes, or are the faces different in any way)?

If you are unable and unwilling to investigate this (which is perfectly fine) then you are stuck either believing the electrician, calling your own electrician, or complaining to the contractor. Sometimes a contractor will have more than one electrician that he or she uses and may be able to send a different electrician to make the next repair.
 
  #5  
Old 09-07-05, 01:01 PM
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Is the receptacle subject to extreme moisture moreso than in a normal bathroom? Perhaps the receptacle is in an exterior wall and the outdoor temperature causes damp shower air to condense inside the receptacle and corrode the internals. It may help to very closely examine one of the failed devices for arcing or corrosion.

Do you live in an area that gets a lot of lightning? Have you had other appliances like TVs or computers damaged by power surges?

Does this receptacle get a lot of abuse? Unplugging appliances by the cord, using the vacuum cleaner there?

That's all of my ideas.
 
  #6  
Old 09-07-05, 06:23 PM
hm369
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Unless there is some sort of leak inside my wall, there is no reason for that receptacle to get any more moisture than the other two outlets in my bathroom.

The other 8 or 9 of those GFI recepticals thoughout my house don't have the same problem and I've never lost any electronics to a power surge, so it seems unlikely to me that lightning would be the cause.

I've never used that receptacle so I'm sure that abuse isn't the problem, either. The only reason it is even there is because the electrical inspector insisted that the regular style light switch that the electrician put in be replaced with one that had GFI protection since the switch operates the light in my shower. I've only tried to use it a couple of times. That is how I discovered that the first two were not working.
 
  #7  
Old 09-08-05, 04:28 AM
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But you are certain that the receptacle did work when originally installed?
 
  #8  
Old 09-09-05, 10:06 AM
hm369
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Hmmm... I am not sure if it ever worked or not. Presumably, the electrician tested it, but I didn't actually see him do it. The electrical inspector did not test it since it wsn't there when he came through. I know that the test/reset buttons worked because I tried them, but I can't remember plugging anything into the receptical that worked. That's usually how I discovered that it didn't work. After that, I would try the test/rest buttons and they were not working either.
 
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