Tripped GFCI Kills Multiple Outlets

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Old 03-20-12, 07:13 AM
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Tripped GFCI Kills Multiple Outlets

Has anyone ever experienced this?

We bought our house a little over a year ago, and I've noticed some odd things with regards to the electrical system. For example, there is a GFCI outlet in the garage that was clearly installed long after the house was built.

I've discovered that whenever this GFCI outlet is tripped, it kills power to outlets in the guest bath, master bath, and back patio. These outlets are not in close proximity to one another.

I'm an electrical engineer by trade, but I don't have a lot of experience with residential wiring. Is this normal??

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 07:21 AM
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I Think I Found My Answer...

Well, I guess I should have Googled before I posted. Here's an excellent explanation of what is probably going on:

Wiring Multiple GFCI outlets

Though I haven't pulled the outlet out and checked, my guess is that the person who installed the outlet wished to protect the outlets in the two bathrooms and the back patio with this single GFCI, and wired those outlets to the "LOAD" terminal of the GFCI.

Learn something new, everyday.
 
  #3  
Old 03-20-12, 08:38 AM
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It's pretty common and as you're probably finding out it can be pretty annoying as well. You trip the GFCI in the garage and an outlet in the bathroom dies.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 10:07 AM
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It is very common, my house was originally wired in exactly the same manner.

What I did was re-connect the wires coming from the LOAD side of the first GFCI receptacle to the LINE side and then installed a GFCI in the first bathroom with the wires that continued to the second bathroom connected to the LINE side of this GFCI. In the second bathroom I installed the GFCI receptacle with the incoming power to the LINE terminals and the wires going to the receptacle on the back porch connected to the LOAD terminals.

While all four receptacles are still on the same branch circuit a trip of the GFCI on any one receptacle will not affect the others with the exception that the back bathroom will cut power to the outside receptacle. Even this could be corrected by wiring the second bathroom receptacle as the others (no connections to the LOAD terminals and then installing a GFCI receptacle in place of the existing one on the back porch.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 04:06 PM
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I'm an electrical engineer by trade, but I don't have a lot of experience with residential wiring. Is this normal??
It was pretty common at the time your home was built, but not at all common with a house built today. Today it would be a code violation.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 05:02 AM
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Thanks for the great answers, gents.

@Furd, I'm thinking that I'm going to do the same thing that you did. Looking at it, I think they wired it the way they did so that they could keep the decorative wall plates that they are using in both bathrooms.

At any rate, thanks again for your help.
 
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