GFI troubleshooting and advice


Old 02-16-12, 07:39 PM
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GFI troubleshooting and advice

New guy here. Over the years I've replaced GFI's, regular outlets, switches, ceiling fans, lights, and some other small stuff. That's about the extent of my experience. My wife and I moved into a new (to us) house last summer.

Not long after we moved in we had a radon fan installed. It's in the attic and is on the same breaker as the garage door opener, some outlets in the garage, and two outlets outside, one on the front of the garage and the other under the overhang on the porch. It's all tied into a GFI in the garage.

All was working well until last week when I went to leave and the garage door wouldn't open. I tried to reset the GFI, but no dice. The next morning it did reset, but only for 10-15 minutes. My first thought was the radon fan. I flipped the switch on the side of the fan to turn it off, but the GFI still won't reset. It immediately trips each time I reset.

Oh, and before I forget, I did replace the GFI in the off chance that it was the culprit, but same behavior.

The outside outlets don't appear to have any moisture around them, but I haven't dug into them. Should that be my first step? If I take them "offline" what do I do with the wiring, just wire nut them until I figure out the issue? I'm not sure where in the chain those outlets fall.

More generally, should I have someone come in and take the garage door opener and radon fan off the GFI? That would likely be more than I could tackle right now. I've had some help with bigger projects from my father in law, but he had back surgery recently and he has a long recovery ahead.

Any suggestions are sincerely appreciated.

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Old 02-17-12, 02:01 AM
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The garage receptacles including the ceiling mounted one would require GFI protection under the newest codes.

I would start outside and open the wires from the receptacle and see if it resets. If so the problem is farther down the line. If not the problem is between the panel and where you opened. Repeat as needed.
Old 02-17-12, 03:08 AM
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To further Jim's comments, don't forget about that infamous yard post light, if you have one. Quite often they cause problems beyond the exterior receptacles.
Old 02-17-12, 06:17 AM
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Thanks for the help. I'll start outside and see what I get. Thanks, also, for the info about the ceiling receptacle. An older electrician, who hasn't done much residential work, suggested the GFI might not be needed for the garage door opener.

I'll report back with what I find.
Old 02-23-12, 07:05 AM
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Turns out the outside outlet on the front of the garage had close to an inch of water in it. I'm not sure why it just started or if water had been slowly accumulating in there for a long time. It did look like the gasket was off a little bit. I adjusted it and hopefully it won't happen again.

Thank you very much for your help.
Old 02-23-12, 04:08 PM
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And thank you for replying back and letting everyone know they were successful in helping you find your problem.

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