GFCI breaker tripping for no real apparent reason

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-22-13, 08:20 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SouthEast Louisiana
Posts: 324
Question GFCI breaker tripping for no real apparent reason

We have a GFCI circuit in the house that has always given us trouble. Apparently it is hooked up to both bathrooms, the bathroom's outlets and 1 light switch in each bathroom that is nearest the sink/outlet. In addition I have been able to determine that there is one other outlet in the bedroom adjacent to the bathroom's wall and 2 other outlets. One is an outdoor back door outlet and another outlet directly opposite the back door outlet is on the interior side. There is also a light switch above the backdoor outlets for the outdoor porch light, which only has

So in total that is 5 outlets and 3 light switches on the one GFCI circuit.

The problem is that the outlet in the bedroom is directly center in front of our bed and we are mounting a tv there with 1 directv box and 1 blu-ray box, all 3 needing power. The tv is a 32 inch lcd and the directv box says 55 watts on the back.

Lights over vanity on only in 1 bathroom - As soon as we turn on the directv box and the tv at the same time, the GFCI breaker trips and everything on the circuit turns off.

In the past if we're using both over-vanity lights and 1 hair dryer sometimes that will trip the GFCI breaker and always if that condition exists and someone also turns on the backdoor light the breaker will definitely trip off.

Why is such little load tripping this thing?

FYI there's no water to be found near any of circuitry.

The light bulb at the back door outdoor light is only 19watts (fluorescent bulb). The other light bulbs over the vanity... I don't know their wattage, but I will check.

Also, I have plugged in an outlet tester into the bedroom outlet and it came up good. I also checked voltage on it and it was 121v.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-22-13, 08:31 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,397
In the past if we're using both over-vanity lights and 1 hair dryer sometimes that will trip the GFCI breaker and always if that condition exists and someone also turns on the backdoor light the breaker will definitely trip off.
In this case, the hair dryer is probably maxxing out the circuit, any additional load trips the breaker.

Lights over vanity on only in 1 bathroom - As soon as we turn on the directv box and the tv at the same time, the GFCI breaker trips and everything on the circuit turns off.

This case sounds like a ground fault in either the DirecTV box or in the TV.
 
  #3  
Old 10-22-13, 08:39 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SouthEast Louisiana
Posts: 324
Back bedroom vanity overhead lights 6 qty each slot is 25w. Only 5 were working, but I got the 6th one to work (jiggle jiggle).

Front bedroom vanity overhead lights 3 qty each slot is 60w. There are only 2 light bulbs in each 60w.
 
  #4  
Old 10-22-13, 08:42 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SouthEast Louisiana
Posts: 324
Both the tv and directv box work just fine on any other outlet together and have for a while. Both are fairly new devices. The only circuit in the house that trips whether these two devices are on them or not is the GFCI circuit.
 
  #5  
Old 10-22-13, 10:46 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,058
Your wiring may be grandfathered but it does not meet current code. Bringing it up to current code will at least fix the bedroom problem. A bathroom receptacle circuit may not provide power to any other room except another bathroom and if it does provide power to another bathroom the lights can not be on the same circuit. Right now you have three things on the bathroom receptacle circuit that shouldn't be there and two of those three things do not need GFCI protection..

Easiest way to bring it up to code is add a new dedicated 20 amp receptacle circuit to the two bathrooms and move the bathroom receptacles to that circuit. The bedroom receptacle, bathroom lights and outside receptacles can remain on the existing circuit. Only the outside receptacles will need a GFCI so the breaker for these should be changed to a non GFCI* and a GFCI receptacle used for the first outside receptacle with others wired off the load side of number one.

*Depending on local code cycle because of the bedroom receptacle an AFCI breaker may be required.
 
  #6  
Old 10-23-13, 07:46 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,397
Both the tv and directv box work just fine on any other outlet together and have for a while. Both are fairly new devices. The only circuit in the house that trips whether these two devices are on them or not is the GFCI circuit.
I've heard similar stories with TVs and DirecTV boxes. Just because they are new and work somewhere else doesn't mean there isn't a ground fault. The GFCI breaker is just doing it's job. I'd follow ray's suggestions.
 
  #7  
Old 10-24-13, 11:01 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SouthEast Louisiana
Posts: 324
I will follow what Ray said, but I maintain its not the equipment. I believe this house is just not wired well by best practices. I have another problem elsewhere with an outlet in the living room as well, either bad outlet or bad wiring.

Lets assume the equipment is good for arguments sake (no ground faults in them)... just to educate myself, what other reason would the Tv and DirecTV box along with 1 light fixture turned on, on the GFCI circuit trip the GFCI?

Is it possible that the light fixture has a ground fault in it?
 
  #8  
Old 10-25-13, 05:43 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,058
Any device or wiring to a device could have a ground fault. Easiest way to test without expensive equipment is replace the fixture and if all else fails replace the wiring to it.

As to the cable box consider for a moment it comes from the lowest bidder, is probably never really tested by the cable company, and almost never used on a GFCI circuit. There could be thousands out there with a fault and the cable company wouldn't know or care. They paid minimum price and almost all customers are happy. That is what matters to the cable company.
 
  #9  
Old 10-25-13, 07:44 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,397
just to educate myself, what other reason would the Tv and DirecTV box along with 1 light fixture turned on, on the GFCI circuit trip the GFCI?
A ground fault breaker will trip on a direct short, an overload or a ground fault. You could test by using process of elimination. Try removing one item at a time and see if the breaker will reset.
 
  #10  
Old 10-25-13, 06:58 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SouthEast Louisiana
Posts: 324
Exclamation

I guess I'm not being clear enough.....

Whether it is a cable box, tv, hair dryer, accessory or other appliance....leaf blower at the back door outlet... the commonality is always that the light fixtures are on when the circuit goes out.

I removed the smaller fixture one time and worked on it to improve its ground connection and all connections on it because the lights wouldn't come on one day. After I worked on it they worked consistently unless we add more than just the lights on the circuit.

I really didn't want to debate whether the cable box or tv has ground faults in it.... I guess with all that ya'll are saying is that tv's and cable box'es in general don't belong on a GFCI circuit.
 
  #11  
Old 10-25-13, 07:42 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,397
I guess with all that ya'll are saying is that tv's and cable box'es in general don't belong on a GFCI circuit.
They could be, but normally aren't. You still have a problem that you can probably find.

You could test by using process of elimination. Try removing one item at a time and see if the breaker will reset.
If this doesn't find your problem, here is something else you can do. Replace the GFI breaker with a regular single pole breaker (should be 20 amp, but size by the wire size of the circuit-20 amp for #12 wire and 15 amp for #14 wire). Install a 15 amp GFCI receptacle at each location where GFCI protection on that circuit is required such as bathrooms and outside receptacles. Wire power to the LINE SIDE connections only on each GFCI receptacle. Do not connect anything to the terminals marked LOAD on any of the GFCI receptacles. This would remove the lights, TV and DirecTV box from the GFCI protection.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes