GFCI Issues

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  #1  
Old 11-13-12, 06:15 PM
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GFCI Issues

I was outside yesterday using my hedge trimmer and all of a sudden it stopped working. I ran the extension cord to an interior outlet and it started working again. It seems that all outside outlets have stopped working. I then went to take a shower this morning and noticed that the shower light stopped working along with the shower light in the other bathroom. I've tracked down all gfci outlets in the house and I've pressed test and reset. There are two in the kitchen and one in the powder room (3 that I can find). I have also flipped each breakers in the panel to the off position and then back to on. Is there anything else I can try before I have to call an electrician? This is driving me nuts.

thanks for the help!
 
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  #2  
Old 11-13-12, 06:18 PM
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I suspect there is another GFI that you have not found. It might be in the basement, outside or in a garage.
 
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Old 11-13-12, 06:45 PM
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I've been through the house 10 times. I'm 99% sure I haven't missed a gfci plug. I was even down in my crawl space searching for one. The only thing I can think of is that we had our basement finished a few years back. Maybe the contractor covered up a gfci that was in our unfinished basement, I think that's doubtful though. Is it possible the the breaker labeled "Outside GFCI" has gone bad? Is the proper protocol for resetting a gfci to press "TEST", "RESET" pops out and then you press "RESET" back in place?
 
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Old 11-13-12, 06:58 PM
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Is the proper protocol for resetting a gfci to press "TEST", "RESET" pops out and then you press "RESET" back in place?
That is correct.

To test the breaker your will need a meter. Testing will need to be done with the panel energized so caution is advised.

Did you check all the receptacles outside?
 
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Old 11-13-12, 06:58 PM
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Is the proper protocol for resetting a gfci to press "TEST", "RESET" pops out and then you press "RESET" back in place?
That sounds pretty proper to me. If for some reason there is no power to the GFI receptacle, it won't reset.
 
  #6  
Old 11-13-12, 07:03 PM
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The outside recepticals don't have the test/reset buttons.

So if the gfci isn't getting power it won't reset...? That seems likely at this point. I would need to get a voltage meter to see if the breaker has failed? Is this something I can do myself or would you recommend hiring someone?
 
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Old 11-13-12, 07:08 PM
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Then why is one of the breakers marked "Outside GFCI"? Keep looking. There has to be one someplace. Look in the garage, behind appliances like refrigerators/freezers, bathrooms, under the stairs in the basement, etc.

As a quick test you can move the wire marked "outside GFCI" to another breaker and see if that fixes it. Please shut the panel down before doing so.
 
  #8  
Old 11-13-12, 07:17 PM
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I just checked all 3 of the gfi's and they're all working. What if one of the gfi's was covered up when the basement was finished?
 
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Old 11-13-12, 08:00 PM
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What if one of the gfi's was covered up when the basement was finished?
Unlikely. It is more likely that you have GFCIs that you haven't found yet - three is far fewer than most houses have these days.

Have you looked in the garage? Do you have other bathrooms?

Have you reset the "Outside GFCI breaker?
 
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Old 11-13-12, 08:09 PM
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Have you looked behind furniture, boxes in storage etc. One member here a while back reported he found one he didn't know about behind a water heater. He only found it because he was replacing the water heater. It was totally hidden till he moved the water heater.
 
  #11  
Old 11-15-12, 04:15 PM
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I think I'm ready to try to change the breaker that's labeled Outside/GFCI Circuit. The breaker appears to be the same as the other breakers. It says type HOM 10 kA. I was surprised to see that this breaker appears to be the same as the other as it's a GFI circuit. Does there have to be a GFCI receptacle on a GFCI circuit breaker?
 

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  #12  
Old 11-15-12, 04:52 PM
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The GFI protection can be from a breaker or a receptacle type device. If you switch out the breaker for a regular breaker you will need to protect the downstream receptacles from the LOAD side terminals of the GFI or install multiple GFI's all wired on the LINE side.
 
  #13  
Old 11-15-12, 05:00 PM
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Here is a picture of the Outside/GFCI breaker (lower left in image). Any way to tell if this is a gfci breaker or if there's just a gfci receptacle on the circuit? I guess it it's a standard breaker that would tell me if there is intact a gfci receptacle that I'm missing.
 
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Old 11-15-12, 05:14 PM
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I think that might be an AFCI breaker second from the bottom left.
 
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Old 11-15-12, 05:16 PM
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The one in question is the bottom left.
 
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Old 11-15-12, 05:18 PM
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The one to the bottom far left is a regular breaker...the one beside it with the blue "test" button is a GFCI or AFCI (never saw one) breaker.

Tell us a couple of things...if it hasn't been said already...

How old is the house and where did you find the other GFCI outlets?
 
  #17  
Old 11-15-12, 05:32 PM
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The house was built in 2004. I found 3 gfci outlets total in my house. Two in the kitchen and one in a bathroom. All of the gfci outlets I found were working and I pressed test and reset on all of them. That still didn't fix my front outside outlet, rear outside outlet, and two shower lights in two separate bathrooms. My next step was going to be to replace the breaker labeled outside/gfci circuit. I guess my confusion is that if the breaker that's labeled as the outside/gfci circuit is just a standard breaker, there must be a gfci receptacle somewhere, right? That or the panel is labeled incorrectly.
 
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Old 11-15-12, 05:39 PM
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"there must be a gfci receptacle somewhere, right? That or the panel is labeled incorrectly."
Either option is very likely. My bet is on a GFCI outlet hiding somewhere.


Again...where did you find the existing GFCI outlets?
 
  #19  
Old 11-15-12, 05:52 PM
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I found 3 gfci outlets total in my house. Two in the kitchen and one in a bathroom.
 
  #20  
Old 11-15-12, 05:55 PM
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.




Just curious......what is the second breaker labeled as? (the one with the blue reset button)

And did you in fact test it to see if by chance it is not tripped?.....could it be mis-labeled?

Also.....you mention shower lights in separate bathrooms but only found a GFI in one bathroom?



.
 
  #21  
Old 11-15-12, 06:04 PM
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As mentioned, breaker #1 is a normal breaker.

3 GFCI receptacles (outlets) is too few for home built in 2004. I know I/we keep telling you this but keep looking. There has to be one hiding someplace. Your garage is one place that will have a code required receptacle that is GFCI protected as will the unfinished part of your basement. I also doubt that a GFCI was buried or you would have a rather large lump in your sheetrock.

Are your bathroom receptacles fed by only one circuit?
 
  #22  
Old 11-15-12, 06:30 PM
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Not sure if this will answer any questions. It seems that all 3 gfci's that I was abl,e to track down (slots 8,10,15) have their own breakers which explains why resetting those didn't work.
 
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  #23  
Old 11-15-12, 06:48 PM
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Don't overlook the obvious. Do you have a GFCI receptacle installed right at the service panel? I've seen this set-up before where receptacles in a 2 level porch addition hadn't worked in 3 years and it was because of a tripped GFCI receptacle at the panel (the owner of the house was an electrical engineer - his wife won't let him live that one down!).
 
  #24  
Old 11-15-12, 06:56 PM
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YUP...the missing GFCI oulet was just to the left of the panel and I could see that the yellow light on it was lit, except it was behind the wall where we finished the basement. It was a b*t*h hitting the reset with a hanger but that fixed the issue. Kind of upset that the contractor would do that though!!!

Thanks all for the help.
 
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Old 11-15-12, 07:03 PM
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YEA!!!!!!! Glad you found it!
 
  #26  
Old 11-15-12, 07:41 PM
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Now onto fixing that covered GFCI...
 
  #27  
Old 11-16-12, 05:59 AM
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Yeah, they built out the wall about 4" from where the GFCI is. I guess I would have to make a hole and move it out to the wall...I'll wait on that
 
  #28  
Old 11-16-12, 06:03 AM
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It might help to just a remodel box that just attaches to the sheetrock rather then trying to attach a box to the stud. You would only need a hole the size of the box then.

Or, easier yet, just spin the box so it is facing the other way.
 
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Old 11-16-12, 04:43 PM
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YUP...the missing GFCI oulet was just to the left of the panel and I could see that the yellow light on it was lit
Ok so now, what caused the GFCI to trip? Do you have a problem with the extension cord or hedge trimmers? Something caused it to trip.
 
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