GFCI Trip Turns out Lights

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Old 05-06-10, 09:20 PM
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GFCI Trip Turns out Lights

Hi - the GFI in my bathroom is at the beginning of a (bathroom only) circuit that also runs to the lights and fan. Therefore, when it trips (via the TEST) the lights also go out. I realize there is a safety concern here (i.e. trying to reset the breaker in the dark), but is it against code? I am a relatively new homeowner in MA.

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Old 05-06-10, 10:08 PM
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Not against code. Except in certain cases where the manufacturer requires it such as over a shower a light or fan does not need to be on a GFCI. You may be able to rewire without much trouble if you want to. First though do you have a GFCI breaker or is it a GFCI receptacle? Are you sure only the bathroom is on the circuit?
 
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Old 05-10-10, 05:50 AM
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It is a GFCI receptacle in the bathroom.

Actually, it turns out the circuit also supplies a mud room and a hallway light downstairs. The bathroom is at the end of the circuit, so when the GFCI trips it does not shut off the other connected areas of the house.

Does that change anything (I assume it does)?
 
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Old 05-10-10, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bcarlisle View Post
It is a GFCI receptacle in the bathroom.

Actually, it turns out the circuit also supplies a mud room and a hallway light downstairs. The bathroom is at the end of the circuit, so when the GFCI trips it does not shut off the other connected areas of the house.

Does that change anything (I assume it does)?
Nope, doesn't change anything.

How many receptacles are in the bathroom? Just the one, or is it a large bathroom with more?

If it's only one, you can rewire the receptacle by taking the wires off of the "load" terminals and "Line" terminals, wiring them together (whites to whites and color to color) and leave a pigtail from each connection that connects back to the "line" terminals.

If there are other receptacles in the bathroom that need to stay GFCI protected, rewiring so that the light isn't GFCI protected may or may not be possible, depending on where the wires are that feed the switch, light, and fan.

If your home is new, that mudroom shouldn't have been put on the same circuit as a bathroom. I've never seen a mudroom in a house older than about 15 years old, and even back then the code did not allow for bathrooms to be shared with other circuits except other bathrooms. But, there's no good way to fix it now, and it passed inspection somehow, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.
 
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Old 05-10-10, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by RHefferan View Post
How many receptacles are in the bathroom? Just the one, or is it a large bathroom with more?
No it is a little larger - has two receptacles. The GFCI is actually the first receptacle in the chain.

Originally Posted by RHefferan View Post
If it's only one, you can rewire the receptacle by taking the wires off of the "load" terminals and "Line" terminals, wiring them together (whites to whites and color to color) and leave a pigtail from each connection that connects back to the "line" terminals.
I assume that I could also do this with both receptacles? I.e. purchase another GFCI receptacle and pigtail them both as you describe? Considering the locations of these receptacles (one over the sink and one on a countertop on the opposite wall), this would probably be desirable from a safety point of view.
 
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Old 05-10-10, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bcarlisle View Post
No it is a little larger - has two receptacles. The GFCI is actually the first receptacle in the chain.

I assume that I could also do this with both receptacles? I.e. purchase another GFCI receptacle and pigtail them both as you describe? Considering the locations of these receptacles (one over the sink and one on a countertop on the opposite wall), this would probably be desirable from a safety point of view.
You would either need to isolate the load side wires that control the receptacle from those that control the light (which may not be possible depending on how it was wired) or replace the other receptacle with a GFCI as you had indicated. Your plan would be functional and up to code.
 
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Old 05-10-10, 08:44 AM
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Yes, you can use a GFCI in each location currently protected by the single GFCI and wire only from the the line side. Note pigtailing may be optional. Many GFCIs will take two wires in each wire holder.
 
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Old 05-10-10, 08:54 AM
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The two of you have been a big help, thanks. This solution seems to make the most sense.
 
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