GFCI Issues

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  #1  
Old 01-28-14, 09:44 PM
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GFCI Issues

Our master bath jetted tub has not worked in 5 years, and there's no access panel. We are preparing to sell our house and I thought I'd better get to fixing it. Coincidentally, there is an outlet on the opposite side of the bathroom at the base of a full length mirror that hasn't worked in who knows how long.

I decided to tackle the latter first. I pulled off the cover (so no one would try using it) and noticed it was a GFCI outlet. A lightbulb went off and I thought "hmmm maybe these are tied together". I tried pressing the test/reset switches --- won't budge. Hmmmm. Killed the breaker box to the one labeled "tub" and went to HD figuring the outlet was bad.

To make sure I wasn't going to fry myself, got out the multimeter, and what I thought was odd was that the line voltages and load voltages both still measured 1-2 VAC. Obviously not going to hurt me, but why they aren't zero I have no idea.

Wired up the new switch, flipped the breaker and went to press TEST and pray for a miracle on the switch & jetted tub -- still nothing/won't budge. Multimeter is still showing 1-2VAC across the hot/neutrals on the outside terminals of the receptacle.

1.) It makes me wonder if the breaker for the tub is somehow at fault? I assume I flipped the correct one
2.) If touching the wires outside the terminal is giving me 1-2VAC, then that explains why the GFCI receptacle isn't working (the old one could still be good for all I know). Why do I not have 120VAC supply and how can I check to see where the failure point is?



Baffled in KC,
Evan
 

Last edited by kcwxforecaster; 01-28-14 at 10:02 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-29-14, 03:30 AM
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I thought was odd was that the line voltages and load voltages both still measured 1-2 VAC.
I'll bet it was a digital one. Digitals can show "empty" voltages from induction. An analog would probably showed 0.

Check the voltage at the breaker you think is the correct one. Measure from the screw to the neutral bus. At the receptacle disconnect the cables and check the voltage from black to ground of each cable.
 
  #3  
Old 01-29-14, 04:13 AM
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Also check for other GFCI's ahead of this one. It is not uncommon for them to be wired like that, although incorrectly. It could be in another bathroom, garage, crawlspace, etc. even behind stacks of boxes, but, I believe you will find another tripped GFCI.
 
  #4  
Old 01-29-14, 04:49 PM
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Welp, still baffled. There are no other GFCI outlets in the house unaccounted for. One is tied to each other sink, including the master bath vanity, and those are all good. No other outlets in the house are bad.

Further testing I've done.
1.) Verified continuity from the LOAD on the GFCI to the wall switch for the hot tub, so I was right that they are connected.
2.) 0V from LINE hot to ground, and 0V from LOAD hot to ground on the GFCI
3.) Went into breaker box and verified 123V to all circuit breakers including the one labeled tub.

So now I'm stumped. It would seem to reason that the hot LINE wire is severed somewhere between the breaker box and that GFCI outlet? How the heck do I trace that down?
 
  #5  
Old 01-29-14, 05:04 PM
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I would first try eliminating the GFCI by wire-nutting black-to-black and white-to white in the box for it. If that doesn't make the tub switch hot, you kill the power, attach the transmitter of a fox-and-hound toner to the line pair, and go hunting with the receiver.
 
  #6  
Old 01-29-14, 05:42 PM
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My guess is that whoever finished the basement in '08 severed it. I located the LINE feed above the drop down tiles in the basement, but following the home run back to the breaker was stopped by a nest of wires and a finished bulkhead in my way.

Will check out this device you mention as I don't see any other alternative other than running wire and I realllllly don't want to do that.

Will follow up w/ what I find. Thanks for the help guys. I appreciate confirmation that I was on the right track here.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 01-29-14 at 07:38 PM.
  #7  
Old 01-29-14, 05:45 PM
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Are there any wires in your panel that are capped off and not attached to a breaker?
 
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