GFCI Breaker keeps throwing

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Old 10-09-09, 10:49 AM
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Question GFCI Breaker keeps throwing

Ok, here is the problem, we live in a double wide mobile home (that in itself is a problem, lol) the wiring is daisy chained through out the house and it runs through the ceilings (another problem) and there is no access to them. The GFCI breaker to our 2 bathrooms (on opposite ends of the house) keeps throwing everytime it rains really hard. We just replaced the roof with one of the new metal roofs so we know there are no leaks and it just started this last weekend and we have had worse storms and no problems. We checked all of our switches and outlets and light fixtures, nothing is loose, we replaced the breaker itself and still no luck. It did start working again about an hour after we replaced it, and worked fine all week until a hard down pour this morning and it threw it again, waited about 3 hours after the rain stopped and it started working again. But about 8 years ago my father in law replaced one of the rocker type switches in bathroom #2 with a normal light switch, he did not connect the white wire to the switch and I'm not sure it even should be connected...but it worked fine, we did however replace the switch last weekend when the breaker first went out, and wired it the same way my father in law had wired the one we replaced, so I doubt that is the problem. The only thing running on this breaker is one light and one outlet in each of the 2 bathrooms so I know it isnt overloading. There is no gfci outlets in the bathroom it is simply a gfci breaker, I hope you all can help me figure out what is wrong its definately got us scratching our heads.
 
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Old 10-09-09, 11:13 AM
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To me the new roof suggests that there may actually be a leak or a nail has punctured a wire running through the roof area.

Does either bathroom have outlets or switches along the outside wall? Perhaps there is a leak in the outside wall allowing some moisture into the device box. It could just be from condensation in the box too which happens at the same time as the cooler temp and high humidity during a rain storm.

White wires are not generally connected to switches.

The first test I would try is to disconnect the wire that runs from bathroom #1 to bathroom #2. If the breaker still trips this tells you the problem is in bathroom #1. If it does not, then the problem is either in the cable between the rooms or in bathroom #2. Process of elimination until you find the box which is causing the problem.
 
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Old 10-09-09, 11:22 AM
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Normally a bedroom would not be on a GFCI breaker. If new enough it might be on an AFCI but neither is relevant to your problem. My only thought is that a cable was pierced when the roof was replaced. Not bad enough to short just bad enough to cause current leakage when moisture is present.

An electrician with a Megar might be able to isolate it to one particular cable run between two points and then just replace that cable. The original cable could be abandoned in place and new one run in a way least disruptive.
 
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Old 10-09-09, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
To me the new roof suggests that there may actually be a leak or a nail has punctured a wire running through the roof area.

Does either bathroom have outlets or switches along the outside wall? Perhaps there is a leak in the outside wall allowing some moisture into the device box. It could just be from condensation in the box too which happens at the same time as the cooler temp and high humidity during a rain storm.

White wires are not generally connected to switches.

The first test I would try is to disconnect the wire that runs from bathroom #1 to bathroom #2. If the breaker still trips this tells you the problem is in bathroom #1. If it does not, then the problem is either in the cable between the rooms or in bathroom #2. Process of elimination until you find the box which is causing the problem.
Well, the roof was installed almost a year ago, so it seems if there was a nail that pierced the wire it would have showed problems before now. All of the switches and outlets are on the inside walls no where near outside walls. And because the way the electrical wiring is running there is no way to disconnect the 2 bathrooms from one another and there is 50 feet of ceiling between the 2 bathrooms and no attic access at all, so its pretty much impossible, another major flaw of Modular Homes. The only thing I can think to do is run a complete new line for both bathrooms and do away with the current wiring for those rooms.
 
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Old 10-09-09, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kcwv9800 View Post
Well, the roof was installed almost a year ago, so it seems if there was a nail that pierced the wire it would have showed problems before now.
Yes that's true. When you said new roof I assumed new this week.

because the way the electrical wiring is running there is no way to disconnect the 2 bathrooms from one another and there is 50 feet of ceiling between the 2 bathrooms and no attic access at all, so its pretty much impossible
The wiring will generally run in a line from the breaker panel to device to device and so on. You have to identify the sequence that the cable runs inside the wall, and at the last box in bathroom #1, disconnect the outgoing wires. You don't need to do anything inside the walls or ceiling at this point. You can usually take a good guess as to how the wiring runs inside the wall as it's the shortest path from panel to device #1 and so forth.

The only thing I can think to do is run a complete new line for both bathrooms and do away with the current wiring for those rooms.
That's an extreme move at this point.

Is there anything plugged in to this circuit just sitting there unused like a night light or shaver charging station? A malfunction or frayed cord in a small appliance that's plugged in can cause erratic trips of a GFCI.
 
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Old 10-09-09, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
Yes that's true. When you said new roof I assumed new this week.



The wiring will generally run in a line from the breaker panel to device to device and so on. You have to identify the sequence that the cable runs inside the wall, and at the last box in bathroom #1, disconnect the outgoing wires. You don't need to do anything inside the walls or ceiling at this point. You can usually take a good guess as to how the wiring runs inside the wall as it's the shortest path from panel to device #1 and so forth.



That's an extreme move at this point.

Is there anything plugged in to this circuit just sitting there unused like a night light or shaver charging station? A malfunction or frayed cord in a small appliance that's plugged in can cause erratic trips of a GFCI.
Ok, in the #1 bathroom (the one closest to the panel) the outlet has 3 wires...its the push in type of outlet...one wire that continues back into the wall and one that ends there in that box...could that be the end of the wire for that breaker? This thing has us so totally confused, all of the wires run down the walls and they all connect into all of the switches and outlets and then looped and run back up the wall into the ceiling and go to the next outlet/switch on that breaker so its kinda tough to trace wires. But if the extra wire that is in the outlet box in bathroom #1 is the end of that circuit wire, can we unhook it from there and accomplish the seperation of the bathrooms?
At the time the breaker threw the only thing on was the light in the 2nd bathroom, there was nothing plugged into either outlet in either bathroom
 
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Old 10-09-09, 02:08 PM
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Are you sure that there isn't a outlet on the outside of your house hooked to this circuit? If so that a prefect way to get water on your circuit. Even moisture would cause that GFCI to trip. I've seen several houses in my time, outlets on the outside of the house on the GFCI circuit from a bathroom. Just checking.
ibpooks thread has you going in the right direction if you don't have a outlet on the outside of your home on the same circuit.

Let us know what you come up with.
Jim
 
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Old 10-09-09, 02:20 PM
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Lightbulb

lol, boy do week look like idiots! After sitting here rereading the replies from you darlings, we got to thinking about an outside outlet on the back of the house....duh right on the outside wall of bathroom #2...and guess what its connected to the same circuit! so we are currently giving it a good recaulking and we will see if that was the issue since the weather man is calling for some torrential rainfall tonight. We had completely forgotten about this outlet cause we never use the back yard, makes since to think of the simple things first, we changed a breaker, and 2 light switches and it was probably that stupid outlet the entire time, lol!
Thanks to all of you for helping, I will let you know for sure if this was the problem or not
 
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Old 10-09-09, 02:22 PM
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Just so we are clear on terms:
Ok, in the #1 bathroom (the one closest to the panel) the outlet has 3 wires
Do you mean wires or cables? Cables are a group of wries in a sheath.
its the push in type of outlet..
Do you mean the wires are inserted into the back? Backstabs are less reliable then screws. While I'm not sure it could cause your problem all backstabs should be moved to the screws just to eliminate that as a problem.

You should though first pursue easier solutions such as the outside receptacles and lights suggested by Jim. Also look under the the MH for any cables run after manufacture The older the more likely your MH you will have them. They could have deteriorated.
 
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Old 10-09-09, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by kcwv9800 View Post
lol, boy do week look like idiots! After sitting here rereading the replies from you darlings, we got to thinking about an outside outlet on the back of the house....duh right on the outside wall of bathroom #2...and guess what its connected to the same circuit! so we are currently giving it a good recaulking and we will see if that was the issue since the weather man is calling for some torrential rainfall tonight. We had completely forgotten about this outlet cause we never use the back yard, makes since to think of the simple things first, we changed a breaker, and 2 light switches and it was probably that stupid outlet the entire time, lol!
Thanks to all of you for helping, I will let you know for sure if this was the problem or not
I would go ahead and also change that receptable. They will hold moisture in them for a long time. Replace it and then seal it tight. Hope that works and be save.

Jim
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Old 10-09-09, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by kcwv9800 View Post
we will see if that was the issue since the weather man is calling for some torrential rainfall tonight.
Yep that's a great place to start. Something else you might want to try once the weather clears is to open that box up and dry it out really good inside with a hairdryer or fan. Once the box is sealed up the water will never come out if it's already wet in there.
 
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Old 10-10-09, 09:27 AM
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Thanks to all of you, that was definately the problem. We had one of the worst storms ever last night, and the breaker never threw! YAY!!! We are going to replace it, just as soon as the weather breaks! I can't help much with advice on electrical or anything in the sorts, but if any of you all ever need help with a crochet pattern give me a shout, lol! Beer 4U2
 
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Old 10-10-09, 09:56 AM
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Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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