Clicking Noise

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Old 05-01-11, 09:37 PM
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Clicking Noise

This is my first post, so hello all and thanks in advance for any responses.

Info: I recently purchased a home with a detached garage and the inspector had informed me that my garage was grounded incorrectly. The garage is a typical garage with outlets along the three walls, two outlets in the ceiling for garage opener and another one where a shop light is plugged in. There is also a set of lights on either side of the garage and a set inside. After a T-storm came through the ceiling outlets aren't working. After it went out I did a little investigation and also found out that the wiring in the outlets in the walls are wired backwards (two light lit up telling me the poles are reversed). Now one last piece to this puzzle, which is what prompted me to post a question, I now hear clicking coming from within my OSB sealed fiberglass insulated garage wall between an outlet and the 3-gang switch (it is loudest below the 3-gang and right of the nearest outlet).

My question: How big of a fire hazard am I looking at? I know it needs to be fixed, I just need to find the time to do it.

Can anyone answer this riddle?
 
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Old 05-01-11, 10:09 PM
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Ok lets start with the basics. Your garage may or may not have a disconnect in it. This could be a in the form of a main in a garage sub panel or just a basic light switch. If you do have one switch it off and see if the clicking stops. If you don't have a disconnect you will have to fine the right breaker or fuse in the house feeding the garage.

Do you have a garage sub panel?

As for the non working receptacles (outlets) look around for a GFCI receptacle in the garage. It may be hidden behind some stuff as they like to hide. If you find one see if it trips and will reset.

On a fire hazard scale of 1-10 I would give it a 5, only because whoever didn't get grounding correct (and possibly hot and neutral reversed) I wonder what else is wrong. BTW - hot and neutral reversed could also be an open neutral.
 
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Old 05-01-11, 10:27 PM
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A 30A or 60A garage sub panel is on my todo list.

When I did my investigation, there are two circuit breakers related to the garage, one labeled "garage recpt" (recepticals) and the other labeled "garage lights". The "garage lights" breaker seemed to be only for the 3-way switch circuit for the outdoor lights and the "garage recpt" powered everything else. The 3-gang switches do not contain a disconnect in anyway and one of the three is for the "garage lights" circuit. I, from what I've seen so far, believe the garage was wired by someone who checked out a book from the library a half hour before they started the project.

Now I'm only throwing this out there, could there be a chance the wires were ruined from rodents? The reason I ask, the T-Storm did little damage to anything else (more of a coincidence that the outlets in the ceiling went out after the storm hit) and I didn't have a problem from the time I bought the home (Jan 4, 2011) till two weeks ago.

Fire hazard: 5 - I'd like to know if others agree (not that I don't trust, I just want to take a poll which really means I want more than one person to tell me it's a big enough issue that I can tell my wife to leave me alone long enough to get it all sorted out since she already feels I'm tinkering too much on the house as it is - hence the username)
 
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Old 05-02-11, 06:04 AM
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It would be very hard to give an accurate hazard assessment. I am wondering if the contacts in a GFI are clicking. Perhaps there is a GFI on the outside? Does the noise go away if you turn off the power to the garage receptacles?
 
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Old 05-02-11, 06:29 AM
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That might be an idea. There is an outlet outside that was used for an outdoor fountain I was told, but I'm not sure what type of outlet (GFI or regular 15amp outlet). I guess I would never think that the GFI would be outside in the elements. I will check that. Yes the noise does not exist when the power is off to the garage, but one thing I forgot to mention, the clicking comes and goes.

My action items: I will check to see if:
1. Is there actually a GFI outlet anywhere in the run?
1a. If there is one, I'll check connections to it, reset it, and if it's bad I'll replace it.
2. Check all connections at the 3-gang switch and the nearest outlet because I guess the actual location of the clicking can be misleading and maybe the clicking is coming from either one of those locations.
3. Check for proper connections at all outlets
4. Open wall to see if a wire is faulty that leads to the two outlets in the ceiling

Remaining questions: If there isn't a GFI outlet, should I install one and if I should install one should I add a grounding rod and tie the GFI to the rod or simply rely on the house ground? I'd like to add some wood working tools into my garage so should I go ahead and add a subpanel anyway?

Now if I were to ask about installing a sub-panel because it's been awhile (2005) since I've installed a subpanel in a detached garage (my fathers place) could I ask my questions within this thread since it is related to my problem or should I post a new thread?
 
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Old 05-02-11, 06:44 AM
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Under newer code editions all receptacles would need GFI protection. Exterior receptacles have required GFI protection for many years.

If there is more than one circuit in the garage you should already have a grounding electrode system.

You do not need to tie the GFI to the rod. Rods serve a different purpose and have nothng to do with grounding a receptacle.

It might be easier if a new thead was started for the subpanel.
 
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Old 05-03-11, 10:20 AM
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Wink

THANK YOU ALL! I have figured out that it was a faulty GFI that has moisture in it. I will be replacing that tonight. Plus beginning to rewire the entire garage properly with a new sub panel. I have two books on that, but if I need any help I know where to go.

Please help me now with another posting on occupancy sensor switches.
 
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