Branches off GFCI


Old 11-12-05, 05:55 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question Branches off GFCI

I have two upstairs bathrooms (master and children's) where the outlets by the sink are wired to a GFCI in the master bedroom. My home is 4 years old. Recently the power went out of all 3 outlets in the two bathrooms (2 in master and 1 in children's). I went to reset the GFCI but it wasn't tripped. I check the circuit box in the garage and it wasn't tripped either. I reset the circuit breaker in the garage anyway. The power still wasn't restored.

I thought the GFCI was bad so I replaced it. This did not resolve the issue either. Power at the GFCI works but the outlets in the bathrooms still have no power. Any suggestions?

Sponsored Links
Old 11-12-05, 07:22 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 40
I would check the wiring connections in the next outlet in the circuit which would probably be the second one in the master, make sure there isn't a loose wire in that box, otherwise if there is an attic above the bathroom, crawl up and see if there would happen to be a junction box between the wire that goes from one to the other.
Old 11-12-05, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
If the house is only four years old (i.e., built in 2001), then it would be very unusual for the GFCI protecting bathroom receptacles to be in the bedroom. I suspect that you didn't find the correct GFCI.
Old 11-13-05, 08:35 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
More GFCI info...

The house was finished in March, 2001. I have double-checked all upstairs outlets and there are no GFCIs in the master bathroom, children's bathroom or elsewhere upstairs. This GFCI has tripped before disabling the master bath outlets. Reseting this GFCI restored the power to the master bath outlets, so I think I have the right one. This GFCI is on the opposite side of the same, shared wall between the master bath vanity and the master bedroom. All are controlled by the circuit breaker labeled (whirlpool) controlling the whirlpool in the master bathroom and these outlets.

There is an attic so I will check to see if there's a junction box. I will also check the wiring of the master bath outlets. I'm not sure which is the next outlet in the circuit, so I will check all three.

Thanks for the suggestions. Any others to consider with this additional information?
Old 11-13-05, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Okay, so maybe it was a failed GFCI. But maybe you didn't replace it correctly. Did you pay careful attention to "line" and "load", reading all the fine print that came with the GFCI, and are you sure you got it correct?
Old 11-14-05, 05:35 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I'm pretty sure I got it correct. I was careful when I removed the lines from the old one to ensure I replaced them properly. Additionally, the new GFCI I bought has a light on it that stays lit if you don't wire it properly. The instructions say that you won't be able to reset it (and the light won't go out) if you don't wire it right. Needless to say I was able to reset it and the light went out. My neighbor also lent me a testing device from A.W. Sperry that shows two yellow lights when it is wired correctly. All of these check out.

Bad next outlet? I haven't had the chance to take them out yet to check.
Old 11-14-05, 06:02 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
All the GFCI can tell you is if you got the line connections on the line side. It cannot detect if you incorrectly wired the load side, except to shut off if it senses a current imbalance.
Old 11-14-05, 08:27 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
OK, but I have a tester that tells me if I have an open ground, open neutral, open hot, hot/ground reverse, hot/neutral reverse, or if it's correct. The tester says the GFCI is correct. Can it still be wrong?
Old 11-14-05, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
What does that tester say if you plug it into one of the non-working receptacles?
Old 11-26-05, 09:53 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for your help. The tester doesn't say anything when put into the non-working recepticles. There seems to be no power to them.
Old 11-26-05, 12:05 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I just opened up the the three receptacles that aren't working in the circuit. I found the last receptacle in the circuit in the master bathroom indicated by only having incoming power lines and no outgoing. The other two receptacles in the circuit (one in the children's bathroom and the other in the master bath close to the GFCI) that have incoming and outgoing lines. All 3 seemed to be wired tightly. I have replaced the two receptacles where the circuit could flow next from the GFCI with new hardware. In summary I have replaced the GFCI and the next two receptacles in the circuit with all new hardware. After completing this I still have no power to these three receptacles (controlled by one GFCI). The GFCI still has power and the tester says it is wired correctly. I got up into the attic and found where the lines go into the GFCI wall and come out. There doesn't seem to be a junction box there unless I missed it, but I traced the lines as far as I could from one area to another.

Any new suggestions? I'm running out of options.
Old 11-26-05, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
out of curiosity....temporarily 'replace' the GFI that you think serves power to the other outlets with either a regular receptical or join the wires with wire caps...this will tell you "maybe" if you have the gfi wired correctly..or if it is bad.?

just a thought
Old 11-26-05, 05:23 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 198
First test has to be going to the panel box again and making sure every circuit breaker has 110 outgoing - and that every neutral wire is tight.

What wall is the GFCI on in relation to where the master bathroom is. I'm trying to figure out why they hooked up the GFCI here and then obviously load sided it to the bathroom/s rather than line sided it at bathroom 1 and then load sided it to bathroom 2. That GFCI outlet doesn't also happen to also serve an outside deck outlet, by chance?
Old 11-28-05, 06:28 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks. The GFI is in the upstairs master bedroom on the opposite side of the wall it shares with the master bath. When the panel box circuit breaker is tripped the GFI doesn't work. When I reset it the GFI has power and my tester says it's wired correctly. The GFI has controlled these 3 outlets in the past (outlets out, GFI reset, outlets work again). The GFI doesn't control an outside outlet.
Old 11-28-05, 01:36 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I presume you already know which circuit breaker controls this circuit? Also if there are any outlets upstream of the GFCI in the bedroom? I know it is tedious but start at your breaker, check for 110v, then go to the next outlet downstream, check for 110v. Check that you have current all the way to the GFCI including checking the BARE wires that you would normall hook up to the line side of your GFCI. If you have 110v up to here, then do what another post mentioned and temporarily replace the GFCI with a normal outlet. Continue on down the line and test the remaining outlets. If you now have power, then you can narrow it down to the GFCI. If you do not have 110v somewhere along the line, you have at least found out where to start looking, ie. at that point or upstream from it to the next place where you know you have power for sure.

The process sounds kinda dumb and simple I know but you've already done all these other tests and haven't found the problem so just get out your multimeter and start the step by step.

Old 11-28-05, 05:55 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
GFCI branches


Restatement to see if I understand what you have said:
You DO have power to the originating GFI. But the receptacles that are off the load side of the GFI do NOT have power.

If this is the case, I would suggest testing the LOAD terminals of the GFI when it's powered up. If you have 120V there, but still nothing at the receptacles that come off the LOAD terminals, then the next thing I would check is continuity in the wiring that leaves the box of the GFI and heads to the downstream receptacles. PLEASE NOTE: you must do continuity tests on an UNPOWERED circuit. Remove power by turning the breaker off or disconnect the LOAD wires from the GFI before testing.
My suspicion is that you have a continuity problem somewhere after the GFI...
might also be the causation for the GFI tripping. Could be loose wire nuts, bared wires, etc.
Another thing to check is if connections at the GFI LOAD terminals and the downstream receptacles are tight, ESPECIALLY if they are the backwired type of receptacles. (I have had a lot of bad experiences with backwired receptacles... enough that I don't use them anymore. They often can look and feel tight but have no or a loose connection.)
If neither of the above gets you any answers, it might be time to call in an electrician.



Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes