GFCI testing - outlets don't trip with tester

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Old 07-22-12, 07:02 AM
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GFCI testing - outlets don't trip with tester

I need some expert advice.

My daughter purchased (in April 2012) a home built in 1941, which has some updated wiring.

GFCIs in 2nd floor bath not tripping when using tester. The wiring has been measured and is 12 AWG. The test and reset buttons on these gfcis function ok. The breaker at the panel is 15 amp. I replaced one gfci with a 15 amp gfci.(does this present a future problem?) Still doesnt trip. There are other devices (at other locations in the home) on this circuit and they show 14 AWG wiring.

All advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 07:13 AM
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I replaced one gfci with a 15 amp gfci.(does this present a future problem?)
No. If the trip button on the receptacle works then they are probably fine.

GFCIs in 2nd floor bath not tripping when using tester.
The receptacles may be ungrounded and it could be your tester requires a ground. As long as they trip when the test button is pushed they should be okay. Does your tester trip the new one?

Note it is code compliant to use GFCIs on ungrounded circuits for greater safety and where 3-prong receptacles are needed but they should have been labeled GFCI Protected - No equipment ground with labels included with the GFCI. However they do not provide a ground for devices that need a ground such as surge protectors.
 

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Old 07-22-12, 07:30 AM
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GFCI testing - outlets don't trip with tester Read more: http://www.doityoursel

They appear to be grounded (after seeing the connections to the device, 2 wires plus bare ground.

Should I go back and replace the 15 amp gfci? (put the 20 amp gfci back in )

Still there must be something that does not allow my tester to trip these devices. I want to be reasonably assured that the gfci's function properly.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 07:49 AM
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Still there must be something that does not allow my tester to trip these devices
What kind of tester do you have? The only tester better than the test button on the GFCI device is one that puts a 5mA fault on the GFCI device. Some GFCI devices that trip with the test button don't trip with a 5mA fault and therefore should be changed, but I have never seen a new GFCI device that would fail that test.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 08:20 AM
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Should I go back and replace the 15 amp gfci? (put the 20 amp gfci back in )
No need. You said the circuit is protected at 15A, and the pass-through rating on 15A receptacles should be 20A.

Still there must be something that does not allow my tester to trip these devices. I want to be reasonably assured that the gfci's function properly.
You could have a faulty tester. First though, is the incoming power attached to the two LINE terminals, and is it properly polarized - black to brass (should be marked HOT on the back of the GFCI) and white to silver (should be marked NEUTRAL).

What do the LEDs on your plug-in tester show?
 
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Old 07-22-12, 08:24 AM
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It is connected to the line side(correctly) w/ no downstream wiring involved. Tester shows correct alignment.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 10:02 AM
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The ground might be disconnected upstream of the GFI.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 10:32 AM
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Expanding on what PCBoss wrote, measure the voltage between the alleged ground wire and the black wire.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 12:29 PM
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To pcboss. Is there a way to check this and will my gfci trip if needed?

To Ray2047. What voltage should I be looking for?
 
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Old 07-22-12, 01:06 PM
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You didn't say......what kind of tester are you using?
 
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Old 07-22-12, 01:29 PM
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You should have ~120 volts. Anything under 90 volts you probably don't have a good ground.

For many years NM (AKA Romex) cable has not been available without a ground so any one adding a circuit to an old original circuit would have had to used grounded cable even though there was no where to connect the ground to the original wiring.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 02:59 PM
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Casual Joe. It's made by Commercial Electric. MS6860H.

ray2047: The wire is NM 2 wire w/ground.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 03:08 PM
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will my gfci trip if needed?
If you're asking whether your GFCI will trip if there is no ground connected to it, the answer is yes. A GFCI tests for a difference between the power coming in on the hot wire and the power going out on the neutral. No ground is needed.

A GFCI without a ground connected will not trip when tested with a plug-in, push-button tester, because that test uses the ground.

Tester shows correct alignment.
Does your tester test for, and report, "open ground?"
 
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Old 07-22-12, 03:14 PM
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Nashka1: The tester reports correct wiring. Yes, it tests for open ground, reverse, open hot, etc.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 03:20 PM
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he tester reports correct wiring. Yes, it tests for open ground, reverse, open hot, etc
Maybe me but I just don't fully trust those kind of all purpose testers. It's always best to confirm with a multimeter.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 03:30 PM
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The tester reports correct wiring. Yes, it tests for open ground, reverse, open hot, etc.
If your Commercial Electric GFCI Outlet Tester Model # MS6860H is showing both yellow LEDs lit, for "correct alignment," and the (only) incoming wires are
connected to the line side(correctly) w/ no downstream wiring involved
then you likely have a faulty tester or a faulty GFCI receptacle.

To test the circuit, turn the power off and remove the GFCI. Separate the wires and turn the power back on. Use a multimeter to test for voltage between hot and neutral and between hot and ground.
 
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Old 07-22-12, 06:34 PM
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Casual Joe. It's made by Commercial Electric. MS6860H.
That tester is no better than the test button on the device itself. Totally useless to a professional. At what fault level is it supposed to trip a GFCI device? You should ask at the big box where you bought it and you'll learn they have no idea.
 
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Old 07-24-12, 06:26 AM
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Should I go back and replace the 15 amp gfci? (put the 20 amp gfci back in )
It is "illegal" to have to have a 20 amp device on a 15 amp circuit.

If you do this the GFI police will come and put you in jail. unish:
 
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Old 07-24-12, 10:14 PM
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unish:
It is "illegal" to have to have a 20 amp device on a 15 amp circuit.

If you do this the GFI police will come and put you in jail. unish:
.
 
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Old 07-25-12, 07:49 AM
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Nashkat1: I have replaced both 20 amp Gfci outlets with 15 amp Gfci tamper resistant outlets. I suspect that this issue has an improperly tied in ground wire, probably at a junction box. If I can locate this Jbox I may be able to resolve this. I also suspect that the Jbox in question is probably hidden from from sight. (definitely a no-no)
 
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Old 07-25-12, 11:43 AM
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I have replaced both 20 amp Gfci outlets with 15 amp Gfci tamper resistant outlets.
Did you test the old receptacles for correct wiring before you replaced them?

I suspect that this issue has an improperly tied in ground wire, probably at a junction box.
Have you tested for voltage hot-to-neutral and hot-to ground, as suggested earlier?
 
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