All Bathroom GFI Outlets are out...

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  #1  
Old 05-10-12, 11:22 PM
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All Bathroom GFI Outlets are out...

Electrical sub-novice here, so bear with me. I noticed all the main outlets in my two upstairs and one downstairs bathrooms were not working. The two outlets upstairs have stickers on them identifying them as GFCI, but they do not have test reset buttons. The outlet downstairs has the test/reset buttons. I checked the breaker panel outside, and I have one double switch breaker marked "washer" and "Bathroom GFI". The washer switch indeed connects to my washing machine, and is working fine, and the other switch doesnt affect any other lights or outlets, so I assume it must be to the bathroom outlets. I replaced the breaker, a cutler-hammer bd2020, to no changed effect. I checked the voltage at the breaker nodes, and it seemed normal.
I would assume my next step would be to replace the outlets, but does anyone have any ideas as to why all three outlets would go down? Help me out, thanks.
 
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Old 05-10-12, 11:31 PM
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I noticed all the main outlets in my two upstairs and one downstairs bathrooms were not working. The two outlets upstairs have stickers on them identifying them as GFCI, but they do not have test reset buttons. The outlet downstairs has the test/reset buttons.
Did you reset the GFCI receptacle in the downstairs bathroom? If the standard receptacles in the two upstairs bathrooms are GFCI protected by the GFCI receptacle in the downstairs bathroom, and that GFCI is tripped, power to all three receptacles will be interrupted without tripping the circuit breaker in the panel.

In my house the doorbell occasionally quits working. To restore it, I have to reset a GFCI receptacle in the unfinished basement.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 06:31 AM
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The GFI will have the TEST and RESET buttons.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 09:35 AM
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Thanks for your reply. I reset the GFI outlet in the downstairs bathroom several times, and the reset button seems to be behaving normally, but I'm still not getting power to any of these three outlets.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 10:09 AM
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You may only need one GFCI to protect all three spaces. Some GFCI’s will not work if one GFCI is serving another GFCI on the load side of the device. There are a number of reasons you are having this problem.
1. GFCI’s are wired incorrectly (This can be at the serving device—where the line has been terminated to the load, or incorrect termination of the conductors in general, or all three are being served by one device from the load side—as stated above)
2. Age of GFCI. Note: Older versions would reset even when no power was present. Note: This also means the line could be terminated to the load side.
3. No power
*Depending on the problem you may need a multimeter, or a voltage detector. Troubleshooting online is not always a slam dunk, so I could be wrong.
just my .01
 
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Old 05-11-12, 10:25 AM
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I reset the GFI outlet in the downstairs bathroom several times, and the reset button seems to be behaving normally, but I'm still not getting power to any of these three outlets.
If you reset the GFCI receptacle by pushing the TEST button until the RESET button popped out, and then pushing the RESET button until it went in and held, and you still don't have power at that receptacle, then one of two things has happened: either the receptacle has lost power from the panel or the GFCI receptacle has failed.

Do you have a way, with the power off, to pull that receptacle out of the wall, inspect the wiring, and, after you turn the power back on, verify that there is line power to the LINE terminals of the receptacle?

I have one double switch breaker marked "washer" and "Bathroom GFI".
The function of the "washer" half of that tandem single-pole breaker should have no effect on the function of the other single-pole breaker. Did you use a multi-meter to verify 120V from the load terminal of the "Bathroom GFI" breaker to neutral after you replaced the breaker?
 
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Old 05-11-12, 11:18 AM
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GFCI receptacle has failed.
Not always true!! It could be that it was wired with other GFCI’s downstream—where the load side of the device was used. Or wired wrong in general. But, it will depend on how old the GFCI is. Again, the older GFCI would reset even when no power was present on the line side. The newer ones want. They (newer GFCI) want even set if you do anything out of the ordinary.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 02:10 PM
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"Do you have a way, with the power off, to pull that receptacle out of the wall, inspect the wiring, and, after you turn the power back on, verify that there is line power to the LINE terminals of the receptacle?"

I havent pulled out the receptacles yet, but it sounds like I am going to have to on the downstairs GFCI. The thing is- this used to work, and nothing has been changed, so it could be bad.

"The function of the "washer" half of that tandem single-pole breaker should have no effect on the function of the other single-pole breaker. Did you use a multi-meter to verify 120V from the load terminal of the "Bathroom GFI" breaker to neutral after you replaced the breaker?"

I did test the new "Bathroom GFI" breaker terminal with my multimeter. Getting 120V readings.
Is there an easy way to test if a GFCI receptacle has failed? My house is only 9 years old, so I assume thats how old this receptacle is.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 02:45 PM
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I havent pulled out the receptacles yet, but it sounds like I am going to have to on the downstairs GFCI. The thing is- this used to work, and nothing has been changed, so it could be bad.
Yes. Right now we're assuming that the three bathroom outlets are on the same circuit - pretty much confirmed by the panel designation - and that the power is fed to the downstairs one and it is protecting the other two as well as itself. Checking how the wires are connected there and whether it has power controlled from the "GFI" breaker will help us determine that.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 03:21 PM
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For some reason I read and seen a post saying all outlets involved had a GFCI receptacle device.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 03:46 PM
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SeaOn, OP stated in first post there were stickers on the other receptacles, leading the rest of us to believe the downstairs GFCI controlled all the receptacles, hopefully from the load side of the downstairs one. I have changed out numerous GFCi's that were faulty, especially in post inspection situations for contingency purposes. They just go bad. I think if the OP checks the voltage at the line side of the GFCi and has voltage, then most likely the receptacle has gone south.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 03:50 PM
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SeaOn, OP stated in first post there were stickers on the other receptacles, leading the rest of us to believe the downstairs GFCI controlled all the receptacles, hopefully from the load side of the downstairs one. I have changed out numerous GFCi's that were faulty, especially in post inspection situations for contingency purposes. They just go bad. I think if the OP checks the voltage at the line side of the GFCi and has voltage, then most likely the receptacle has gone south.
I agree, I have no idea what the heck I was reading…….LOL!!!! Maybe I should stop opening three pages at a time……….

I agree with the others below (or above depending on how you have your settings).
 
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Old 05-11-12, 05:15 PM
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I believe your GFCI has failed and locked itself out.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 05:25 PM
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Hey, Justin. Finals over, yet???? How'd you do, hoss??
 
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Old 05-11-12, 08:36 PM
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Hey, Justin. Finals over, yet???? How'd you do, hoss??
We don't have finals for 2 more weeks yet
 
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Old 05-12-12, 06:09 AM
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Why so late, Justin? Schools are almost out here. The lack of substantial snows this past winter didn't extend the year this time.
 
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Old 05-12-12, 10:09 AM
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We're not even to the middle of May, schools in my area normally run through the second week of June unless extended because of snow days.
 
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