Power Fluctuations on Circuit with GFI Breaker

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-23-14, 09:13 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Power Fluctuations on Circuit with GFI Breaker

I have lights on one circuit in my home that flicker. The breaker for the circuit is a 15A GFI. In addition to lights, the circuit includes two ceiling fans and a couple of TV's and cable TV boxes. Typically, the TV's remain on while lights flicker but occasionally the power will go off long enough to turn off the TV's (maybe 20 seconds). In either case, the GFI circuit breaker never trips.

I've tightened the wires at the breaker and the neutral bar but they were already snug so I don't think that's the problem. The house was built in 1974 so I doubt that the breaker is original to the box but I do know that it was installed prior to 1999.

Any suggestions?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-23-14, 09:24 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 54,509
Received 504 Votes on 474 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

You are going to have to identify every location that the GFI circuit feeds and check the connections. You may find that you have wiring just pushed into the back of a receptacle which is a common cause of intermittent problems.
 
  #3  
Old 04-23-14, 10:39 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
GFCI circuit breakers are rarely installed on general-purpose circuits which include lighting. Could it be an AFCI breaker?

That said, the likely cause is a loose connection somewhere in the circuit, as PJ suggested.
 
  #4  
Old 04-24-14, 03:40 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,996
Received 39 Votes on 34 Posts
Your house was built in the era of aluminum wiring. Sounds like a loose connection as the others suspect.
 
  #5  
Old 04-25-14, 07:42 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the suggestions.

In a way, the problem solved itself. The power went out for an extended period minutes after I sent the post. I went to the panel to see if the breaker tripped and it hadn't but there was a barely perceptible sizzling sound. I wiggled the breaker and decided it was the cause so I pulled it and gave it a visual inspection. The top contact on the breaker for the hot bus bar was burned away. I pulled the breaker and replaced it with a new one of the same amperage. I've also arranged with an electrician to inspect the panel.

As for the comment regarding it being a GFCI, there are no marking on the breaker to suggest it's a GFCI or an AFCI. I'm familiar only with the features of an AFCI but I've never seen one. If it's wired in the same way as a GFCI then it could have been either.

As for aluminum wiring, I don't think I have any. I checked several of the outlets and the panel when I bought the home and I found none but I suppose it could be spliced in areas that are less visible.
 
  #6  
Old 04-25-14, 08:13 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,271
Received 43 Votes on 35 Posts
As for the comment regarding it being a GFCI, there are no marking on the breaker to suggest it's a GFCI

Then why did you state this in your first post?
The breaker for the circuit is a 15A GFI.

And why did you title the thread.....
Power Fluctuations on Circuit with GFI Breaker

If the sizzling you heard was from the contact of the breaker to the bus bar and if the bus bars are aluminum, you may have to abandon that space and relocate the new breaker. Aluminum bus bars cannot tolerate overheating and/or sizzling without permanent irreparable damage being done.
 
  #7  
Old 04-25-14, 08:44 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,996
Received 39 Votes on 34 Posts
I too recommend an evaluation of the bus contact area to see if it is still suitable for use.
 
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
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: