Totally Blown Away


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Old 05-10-09, 02:16 PM
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Totally Blown Away

Bought new house 2 years ago. (House is 16 years old) One year ago GFCI kept tripping in main bathroom. Had "electrician" off duty came and replaced both outlets, both vanity lights and GFCI in bathroom. Now, 9 months later, turned on bathroom lights today and boom! GFCI tripped. Turned off power, undid both light fixtures, both plug ins, including GFCI and all connections are fine. I have no power to my bathroom. Nothing extra has been turned on or plugged in the entire house. Any ideas as to what is going on? How could something work for 9 months and suddenly stop? Just at my wits end!!
 
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Old 05-10-09, 02:48 PM
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Did you try just resetting the GFCI before pulling everything apart? Are you saying there is no power to the line side of the GFCI? If so did you try turning the breaker all the way off then on?
 
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Old 05-10-09, 02:53 PM
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Angry

Yep reset tge GFCI, went and turned the power off at the box before I checked all the connections. Then turned the power back on at the box, turned on the light switch and bam, lights came on and GFCI switched off. I reset the GFCI and left the lights off and left the room. One hour has passed. I just went in the bathroom, said a small prayer, and turned on the lights and LOW AND BEHOLD THEY STAYED ON AND THE GFCI DIDN"T TRIP! Starting to think we are possessed. Whenever the lights are turned on the GFCI trips, leaving no power to the outlets or lights. Why would they come on now and stay on after being off all day?
 
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Old 05-10-09, 03:48 PM
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Whenever the lights are turned on the GFCI trips, leaving no power to the outlets or lights. Why would they come on now and stay on after being off all day?
Maybe something dried out. Any outdoor receptacles? Maybe someone unplugged something.
 
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Old 05-10-09, 04:22 PM
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We use one outdoor receptacle 24/7 for the front electric fence for the horses. It's on its own GFCI. That one wasn't tripped and I even went and unplugged the horse fence and it didn't change anything. EVEN WEIRDER - I just took a shower AND BLOW DRIED my hair in the bathroom. Plugged the hair drier into the GFCI plug. We still have electricity in the bathroom. Totally unreal. Would you call an electrician out or wait and see. Just trying to explain it, especially now that it's working again is going to sound strange!!!
 
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Old 05-10-09, 07:08 PM
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Outdoor receptacles should not be on the same circuit as bathroom receptacles if the house is wired to the NEC. My money is on an intermittent ground fault on the load side of the GFCI. Is the light the only thing on the load side of the GFCI?
 
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Old 05-11-09, 11:31 AM
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DZDAVE00 - The GFCI outside receptacle where the horse fence is plugged into hasn't tripped.
There is another GFCI receptacle in my bathroom. When the bathroom GFCI trips, both sets of vanity lights and both plug in receptacles don't work.
The lights have been on since yesterday afternoon, the rest of the night and all day today.
That's is what is making it so strange. Why would the GFCI in the bathroom keep tripping and then suddenly stop and we have power again. A man I spoke to feels like we are having some kind of a surge somewhere in the house that is affecting only the GFCI in the bathroom. He thinks we should have the circuit breaker in the box to the bathroom changed out. It has never tripped, in the circuit box though. Just the GFCI in my bathroom when you turn the lights on. Nothing new running in the house or anything any different going on.

It tripped around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and quit tripping after 5 around dinner time. Just doesn't make sense.
 
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Old 05-11-09, 03:09 PM
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Since you have already replaced the lights and outlets in the bathroom, that would make me think there is an intermittent ground fault in the wiring, possibly a wiring error or bad connection downstream of the GFCI that is tripping. A recurring surge seems pretty unlikely...about as unlikely as an intermittent fault in a cable, LOL.

You could try changing out the circuit breaker as that is cheap, but I doubt it has anything to do with the problem. I would check connections to make sure they are correct and tight in the bathroom. It sucks but you might have to replace the downstream of the tripping GFCI.
 
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Old 05-11-09, 03:35 PM
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Take your lights off the protection of the GFCI. It is not needed unless they are over the shower/tub, and if you are using CFL's, they sometimes upset the balance of a GFCI, but not always.
 
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Old 05-11-09, 06:50 PM
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Have you tried changing the light switch? Possibly an intermittant fault in the switch itself. Just my 2 cents.
 
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Old 05-13-09, 05:46 AM
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DZDAVE00 - I checked all the connections on Saturday and they are tight. I believe it's something like you said and it will suck to have to have someone figure it out. It's too "big" for me. It's wednesday and it hasn't tripped again! Everytime I turn on the light and it comes on I am so happy!!!!

Chandler - I hadn't thought of doing that. The GFCI is over one of the sinks. The man who built this house put GFCI's in almost every room. So you don't think it will hurt to take it out? Let me make sure I follow, if I take the GFCI out then if something happens it will trip the breaker? Thanks

Wire Twister - That was the first thing I did 9 months ago. I figured I could at least handle changing out a switch. I just didn't know that if the color of the switch was almond that there were 3 shades of almond. Now my outlets are 3 different shades of almond!
 
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Old 05-13-09, 11:40 AM
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NO. Leave the GFCI protection at the receptacle, but move the downline protection going to the lights to the top connections. You must have GFCI protection in the bathroom receptacles. Not necessary to the lighting unless over the tub.
 
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Old 05-14-09, 04:51 AM
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Chandler - ok, so I just cap that part off? Sorry so slow to what you're talking about!
Let me run this by you too. We moved from Georgia 2 years ago to the boonies in Alabama. We loose power out here all the time. When we don't loose it we have either power "flickers" (for lack of a better word) or power outages that last from hours to minutes.
My next door neighbor keeps having trouble with appliances. Her dryer will tumble but not heat. If they trip and reset the breaker in the breaker box, the dryer will tumble and HEAT.
Another neighbor has weird things going on like me.
Question - could there be something strange going on with the power lines coming off the main line and going to each of our houses? or am I over thinking and dreaming of "power conspiracies?"
Our phones and internet have these "glitch" problems that the company keeps working on, so is it possible the power supplier could have the same since we are in the boonies?
 
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Old 05-14-09, 04:59 AM
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It could very well be a problem with the power company's lines. Since more than one house has similar problems, call the POCO and have them check it out.
Now, as far as your GFCI goes. Power enters the box and attaches itself to the top screws on the GFCI. That gives the receptacle power and the ability to trip. If there is anything downline such as another receptacle or lighting that needs protecting, they are attached to the lower part of the receptacle. If you don't need that protection (such as lighting), you would relocate those wires to the other holes in the top part of the receptacle.
Not saying it is definitive, but from what you have told us, it is likely there is a floating ground somewhere on the POCO side of the wiring. Call them today and have them check it out.
 
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Old 05-15-09, 05:02 AM
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I will definitely get with the POCO. They probably won't admit the possibility but they may come check it out. Thanks for all ya'lls help!!!
 
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Old 05-15-09, 02:26 PM
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OH, yes they will. They do not want to face any liability when it comes to their lines. If there is a chance it is on their line, they will rectify it. They are absolutely responsible to all the lines up to your meter. Call them quickly.
 
 

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