GFCI refuses to reset

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  #1  
Old 09-06-07, 04:32 PM
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Exclamation GFCI refuses to reset

I am attempting to reset my GFCI outlet that solely operates my sump pump. This has happened before without any trouble. I can't locate the breaker for this outlet in all of my boxes. Should I inspect the sump pump for a reset?
 
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  #2  
Old 09-06-07, 05:17 PM
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If the GFCI will not reset then either there is a ground fault or the circuit breaker has tripped or the GFCI has failed.

Don't you KNOW which circuit breaker controls the sump pump circuit? You should. You should know what breaker controls each and every receptacle, light and appliance in your house. Everyone should know this. The information is invaluable when you have a problem (like now) and could save your life.

Are any circuit breakers tripped? Have you turned each and every circuit breaker fully off and then back on?

Have you checked for power to the receptacle?

Have you tried resetting the GFCI with no load in place?
 
  #3  
Old 09-06-07, 05:35 PM
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GFCI will not reset

Here is the deal. the house had one owner for the first 30 plus years. All breakers were labeled with tape which has since disappeared. I have an outside and inside panel for circuits within the house. I can't find the one for the sump pump, but I don't see any that are tripped. I inserted a tester which showed the outlet is good, but when I inserted the pump plug, it tripped again. I will attemp to reset without any load and also work on labeling all of my breakers.
 
  #4  
Old 09-06-07, 06:01 PM
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If I understand correctly, the GFCI reset and showed voltage when you tested it without the sump pump plugged in. When you plugged the sump pump in, the GFCI tripped. If this is correct, replace the sump pump. The GFCI is doing it's job saving you from a faulty pump.
 
  #5  
Old 09-06-07, 06:13 PM
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that is correct. it reset OK without it plugged in and tripped as soon as I plugged in the sump pump. Is there a chance of just changing the outlet and not the pump. There are two plugs in the GFCI outlet and both belong to the pump.

Chris
 
  #6  
Old 09-06-07, 06:26 PM
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If the GFCI resets fine with no load then it is working properly. Replace the pump. Or use a regular receptacle for the pump. As motors get old they leak current and sometimes trip GFCIs.


Once you solve your problem, go do what you should have done shortly after moving in (regardless of whether there were labels or not). Take the time to completely and thoroughly determine what is on each and every circuit breaker. You need to KNOW what each circuit breaker controls and what circuit breaker controls each and every receptacle, light and appliance.

As I stated, this information could save your life.

EVERYONE who moves into a house, apartment or condominium needs to do this shortly after moving in. There is no excuse for not doing this.
 
  #7  
Old 09-06-07, 06:40 PM
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thanks. both replies to my post suggesting replacing the pump. Unfortunately the previous owners did a lousy job maintaining some of the house. This isn't the only electrical issue for now. I also have an attic fan that isn't working as well as another regular receptacle, but I will post those issues after I label my breaker boxes.
 
  #8  
Old 09-07-07, 01:48 AM
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Though it may be a future job, check to see if there's a shut-off in the attic for the attic fan. Most recommend that an extra shut-off be installed near the fan (in addition to the regular switch) for servicing/winterizing. And while you're in the attic, make sure there isn't a winter cover over the fan.
 
  #9  
Old 09-07-07, 06:04 AM
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Thanks.

There are two light switches in the attic as well as two receptacles. They worked when I had the house inspected, but don't work now. One switch was for a light in the attic and the other I thought was for the fan. None of the receptacles or the switches show power so I have to find that out too. There is a GFCI outlet just below in the bathroom and I was told that may have something to do with it,but that outlet is fine. Again, thanks for the input.

Chris
 
  #10  
Old 09-07-07, 06:53 AM
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Can I make a suggestion? Replace the GFI outlet when you replace the pump. Install a suitably sized simplex receptacle in it's place. That might save you some grief should the GFI trip when the pump is really needed.

IMO critical household equipment such as refrigerators, freezers and sumps shouldn't be powered from a GFI receptacle.
 
  #11  
Old 09-08-07, 10:53 AM
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Exclamation GFCI and sump pump

I unplugged both of the plugs and plugged them into another outside outlet. The pump started again. Here is my question~ do I replace the GFCI outlet now? I also noticed that the pump doesn't shut off. Shouldn't it shut off periodically and isn't it activated by some kind of float? All of the water around the pump, since it is below ground, disappeared instantly. I am not sure why there are two plugs, could one be an alarm of sorts? Thanks to everyone for all of the help.
 
  #12  
Old 09-08-07, 11:28 AM
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most sump pump if it come with two cords that mean one cord is specal designed for float switch if the sump pump is submergeable type and second cord is for pump motor so that type of plug you have one is stanard plug which that is for the pump motor and second one what some of us called piggyback plug that used for float switch to turn on and off the pump as need per water level.

if the float switch dont work the basically thing is check the float switch to make sure the cord or float itself is not binding on anything and make sure the float do travel free without hitting anything.

yeah once a while the float switch can go bad you can get new float switch if that the case they are not too bad on price wise but check it out in big box store some will stock this

Merci , Marc

P.S. if that pump pit have extra item some have second float which it will hook up with the alarm switch if the water level get too high the alarm will kick in [ typically that will be on sepearted circuit in some area ]
 
  #13  
Old 09-08-07, 04:12 PM
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"... do what you should have done shortly after moving in (regardless of whether there were labels or not). Take the time to completely and thoroughly determine what is on each and every circuit breaker. You need to KNOW what each circuit breaker controls and what circuit breaker controls each and every receptacle, light and appliance.
As I stated, this information could save your life.
EVERYONE who moves into a house, apartment or condominium needs to do this shortly after moving in. There is no excuse for not doing this."


I created a circuit map for my house about 4 months ago. It took about 3 weeks to get everything right. I listed each light, appliance and receptacle in an Excel spreadsheet, cross-referenced by the circuit and amperage rating, with special notations for switched receptacles, dimmer switches and GFCI's. I also created a color-coded diagram which depicts everything for easy reference. I found this to be invaluable reference material when working on any electrical problem. It's also helpful to know the load on each circuit.

In reality, I don't think but a handful of people ever do this. Many people I've met don't even know where their service panel is located! If you were to ask the average homeowner to turn their oven breaker off, for example, they'd probably have to call an electrician. People should have to pass some sort of rudimentary test as a condition to own a home...
 
  #14  
Old 09-09-07, 03:29 PM
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I know I'm probably alone on this, but I've never put a lot of reliance on CB marking. While it may save some time when doing maintenance, in an emergency I wouldn't waste time trying to read the label plate on a service panel. If there's an electrical fire or other emergency, I know exactly where the main breaker is. As for maintenance, I guess I'm old school. I was taught test before you touch.
 
  #15  
Old 09-09-07, 03:39 PM
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That's not what labeling is really meant for. We all know in a emergency, we can shut the main off.

It's really meant to make sure you turn the correct CB off when you are doing electrical work.
 
  #16  
Old 09-09-07, 06:04 PM
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well, unfortunately all of my CB's control entire rooms as well as other receptacles. The house is over 30 years old. I am most concerned with labeling the main and any of the major appliances. I have already had to replace one and had no trouble. my sump pump is working again, but seems to still trip every once in a while. If it ain't broke, don't fix it or try to fix it. Thanks for all of the help guys.
 
  #17  
Old 09-09-07, 06:12 PM
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"If it ain't broke,"

"Fix it untill it is"

Seems to work for all the other machines

Hope it all works out.
 
  #18  
Old 09-09-07, 06:21 PM
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What are you going to do when a receptacle all of a sudden stops working? Perhaps a back stab fails. Maybe you will be lucky, and the problem will be at the receptacle that has failed. Or maybe you will be unlucky, and the problem will be at the receptacle feeding that one. Are you going to check every receptacle in your house because you have no clue what else is on the circuit?
 
  #19  
Old 09-09-07, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Once you solve your problem, go do what you should have done shortly after moving in (regardless of whether there were labels or not). Take the time to completely and thoroughly determine what is on each and every circuit breaker. You need to KNOW what each circuit breaker controls and what circuit breaker controls each and every receptacle, light and appliance.

As I stated, this information could save your life.

EVERYONE who moves into a house, apartment or condominium needs to do this shortly after moving in. There is no excuse for not doing this.
>>Mr Racraft may sound a bit redundant on this issue, but at the moment Im nursing a 3rd degree burn, because I didnt take it seriously enough. My neice wanted to help, so I gave her the pen and paper while I walked from outlet to outlet. Well... Something got mislabeled, and I grabbed a Live wire instead. ITS NOT A JOKE, and can be Life threatening. That could have just as easily been the 220 feed to the dryer.
RACRAFT>>>>>THANK YOU and keep it up!
 
  #20  
Old 09-09-07, 07:24 PM
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UncleD, Thanx for pointing this out.
Yes Bob,(Racraft) We Raz You. You are correct and keep it up!

But To all those out there... Adhear to the advice !!! It is sound.

UncleD. Sorry for your spot.
However, This is a good thing to learn (fortunately, you're around to learn it).

TREAT EVERY WIRE AS IF IT IS (energized) HOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If YOU test it then test it again! If someone else tests it, Then test it twice!

Treat it as above. You are very lucky to only have burns. Had the enviroment or other conditions been different... You would have a eulogy!

Don't want to sound cold but you are fortunate.
Please other veiwers... Be very carefull !

This electricity DOES and WILL KILL without warning !!

UncleDiezel, We wish you a Speedy recovery, And are Very happy you are still here to share this with us.

Best wishes, lectriclee.
 
  #21  
Old 09-10-07, 06:04 AM
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How about you send me your Excel spreadsheet and make my job easier. As mentioned, there are several receptacles issued to on CB and it make it that much harder to do. I do treat everything as a live wire as I have already short circuited the upstairs while installing a new light. I have one outlet that is blackened because we did something wrong and need to fix that one,but won't attempt until I know I am safe if I have to shut the main off to be sure. All of my wires and outlets were tested by a GC when I purchased the house. I have twice as many outlets or more than I do CB's. Thanks for the advice and if you don't hear back from me, that means I did something wrong.
 
  #22  
Old 09-10-07, 06:11 AM
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Just because something may be difficult to do (but mapping your circuit is NOT difficult) or because it may take time (yes, it does take time), is NOT an excuse to avoid doing so.

In older houses it is quite common for numerous rooms to be on the same circuit breaker, and for circuits to be close to overloaded.

Mapping your circuits will help you determine where you have possible problems.

In the long run you will be glad you took the time and energy to do the job, especially if you have a problem that needs to sorted out.
 
  #23  
Old 09-10-07, 08:03 AM
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I don't think somebody else's spreadsheet will help much. It's pretty simple. In column 1, make a list of every switch and receptacle and appliance and fixture in your house. Be detailed. For example, "front bedroom, west wall, left side receptacle". Be sure to include everything (e.g., the doorbell, the furnace, the smoke detectors, the front porch light, the garage door opener, the range hood, the garbage disposal, the sump pump). Then, in column 2, you'll put the number of the circuit breaker when you figure it out. Test each half of each receptacle separately, as the two halves may be on separate circuits or controlled separately. Watch out for switch-controlled receptacles--test with the switches both on and off. If a photocell is involved, you may need some black tape for the testing (and you may need to wait ten minutes after applying the black tape to do the testing).

For extra credit, you can use a third column for additional notes, such as noting that the top half of a receptacle is controlled by a switch, or that the receptacle is GFCI protected, or that the fixture is rated for 60-watt bulbs, or that the light is controlled by a photocell.

When you get all done, you can sort the spreadsheet by the breaker number, and then print it out and post it next to the panel. You could also sort it by room and post that too as a cross reference.

You may find it easier to do it with paper and a clipboard and transfer it to a spreadsheet later. You don't really need a spreadsheet--you could alternatively use a word processor file with a multicolumn table.

Doing it with a helper makes it go a lot faster. One person stands at the panel and the other walks around the house. And if you have walkie talkies, that can help a lot too.

Don't stop until you find a circuit for everything. When I did my house, I found everything except what controlled by electrically-activated gas fireplace. Then, after shutting off the main breaker, I figured out that the electric power wasn't coming from the panel at all, but from a thermopile powered by the pilot light. That one had me stumped for a while.
 
  #24  
Old 09-10-07, 09:42 AM
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When you start the mapping process, you also become amazed at just how many receptacles your house has. I figured maybe 15 or 20, couple dozen tops. By the time I finished my mapping, I had 71 receptacles and another 35 hard-wired lights and appliances. You develop a better appreciation for the electrical network in your home.
 
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