Causes and Problems with GFCI tripping

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  #1  
Old 06-14-12, 04:15 PM
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Causes and Problems with GFCI tripping

My house was built in 1987 and the electrician wired GFCI outlets on either side of the breaker box and connected the outdoor outlets to these GFCIs for protection. I guess it was cheaper than installing GFCI breakers. Today I had a problem with one of the GFCI tripping. The outdoor outlet was running my swimming pool filter pump. The GFCI tripped everytime I reset it. I replaced the GFCI but that didn't help. The only way to keep the outlet from tripping was to disconnect the carry-on wires. I took the outdoor outlet off and left the wires bare and tried to reset the GFCI but it still tripped. I suspect a problem in the wire from the GFCI to the outdoor outlet. How can I further troubleshoot the circuit? I ended up replacing the GFCI with a standard outlet which allows me to have power at the outdoor outlet. I am concerned that something happened to the wiring.
 
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Old 06-14-12, 05:44 PM
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was to disconnect the carry-on wires.
What is a carry-0n wire?

You must have GFCI protection. It would be hazardous to life safety and a code violation not to use a GFCI. Do Not use the pump without a GFCI. Replace the GFCI that is tripping and see if that fixes the problem. GFCIs do go bad. The older the more likely. It could also be a failing pump.

I ended up replacing the GFCI with a standard outlet which allows me to have power at the outdoor outlet. I am concerned that something happened to the wiring.
You should be more worried about your mistake of removing the GFCI will kill someone. Unplug the pump immediately.
 
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Old 06-14-12, 06:07 PM
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I took the outdoor outlet off and left the wires bare and tried to reset the GFCI but it still tripped.
Are you saying you disconnected the outside outlet and left the wires hanging out of the box and the GFCI still tripped? If so, make 100% sure there is not another outlet between the tripping outlet and the pool outlet. It could be in an entirely different location as the pool outlet.
 
  #4  
Old 06-19-12, 11:58 AM
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Thanks to Tolyn Ironhand I figured out the problem. There was another outdoor outlet between the pool pump and the GFCI receptacle. My son had been powerwashing the front siding when the problem occurred and must have soaked that outlet. Now that it's dried out I've reinstalled the GFCI and all is well again!

Now to ray2047 the "carry-on" that I referred to was the load side of the receptacle. Sorry for using the wrong term. I'm not an electrician that's why I'm on this forum asking for help. You must have been so rattled by my mistake that you didn't read, in my post, that the first thing I did was replace the GFCI receptacle with a new one. (that didn't fix the problem)
 
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Old 06-19-12, 01:21 PM
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Thanks for letting us know. Carry on.
 
  #6  
Old 06-19-12, 10:57 PM
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This is exactly why I silicone around all outdoor outlets and don't rely on the garbage gasket the covers come with.

I know you got it settled, just posting this for future googlers
 
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Old 06-20-12, 07:46 AM
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Glad you got it resolved.

Just one question, though. When I read this:
There was another outdoor outlet between the pool pump and the GFCI receptacle. My son had been powerwashing the front siding when the problem occurred and must have soaked that outlet. Now that it's dried out I've reinstalled the GFCI and all is well again!
I wonder whether that receptacle had an in-use ("suitable for wet locations") cover before this happened, or whether you've installed one now.

As with the silicone caulk recommended by rich3236, I'm primarily posting this for future readers.
 
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Old 06-20-12, 11:56 AM
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Yes the outlet had a cover. I had washed the siding in the past and not had a problem with it leaking enough to trip the GFCI. I will try the silicone caulk.
 
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Old 06-20-12, 12:05 PM
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Nash asked:
I wonder whether that receptacle had an in-use ("suitable for wet locations") cover before this happened, or whether you've installed one now.
and you answered:
Yes the outlet had a cover.
But is it this type of cover?
 
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