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GFCI breaker won't reset after housewashing - getting 16V into the breaker

GFCI breaker won't reset after housewashing - getting 16V into the breaker

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  #1  
Old 11-15-14, 01:16 PM
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GFCI breaker won't reset after housewashing - getting 16V into the breaker

I thought it was an outlet that got wet, but I pulled all the outlets apart used a hair dryer and still couldn't reset the breaker. I now find the hot (black) wire going into the breaker has only 16V on it (measured from bare black to ground after pulling black and white and ground all from the breaker.

Checked the outlets (now all apart) and find just one that also has 16V on black. All others are reading zero.

I'm baffled - what do I do next?

- Ken
 
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  #2  
Old 11-15-14, 01:28 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

Just to be clear: You removed the wire from the circuit breaker and measured from the screw of the breaker to neutral and get 16 volts?
 
  #3  
Old 11-15-14, 02:58 PM
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Yep, I did get 16v, but I now have the problem solved. That 16V was on the "field wiring" - must have been induced by wires running next to other hot wires.

The problem was the breaker itself. Only 4 months old and it was bad. The housewashing must have tripped it and as a result, pour QA or whatever, it just failed.

Replaced it with a new one and back in business - not putting all the outlets I dismantled back together.
 
  #4  
Old 11-15-14, 04:43 PM
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Good, Glad you got it fixed.

Yeah, the 16 volts was likely phantom voltage.
 
  #5  
Old 11-15-14, 05:36 PM
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The problem was the breaker itself. Only 4 months old and it was bad.
A warranty issue, no biggy. You should have gotten a free replacement.
 
  #6  
Old 11-16-14, 12:25 PM
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Thanks Joe and Tony - yeah, the breaker going bad that quickly surprised me. Turns out it was less than 3 months, but apparently a bit beyond the 90 day warranty. I'll still try to get a refund - $67 plus tax is no joke.

Before replacing the breaker, I got suddenly smart on this by talking to a nephew who is a licensed electrician (should have called him first, but didn't think of it). He was pretty sure it was a bad breaker given the symptoms, but said before I opened the package on the new one I should pull the old one and, with nothing attached, check the resistance from hot clip on back to the hot lead going out. With the breaker closed should be zero, with breaker open, infinite. Turns out the open position showed a few hundred ohms - that's when I was confident that I had a bad one.

Also noticed my typo - should have said "poor QA"

- Ken
 
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Old 11-16-14, 04:04 PM
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Turns out it was less than 3 months, but apparently a bit beyond the 90 day warranty. I'll still try to get a refund - $67 plus tax is no joke.
What kind of breaker was it? Square D QO series, Cutler-Hammer CH series and I believe Siemens Type QP breakers all have a lifetime warranty. Cutler-Hammer BR series and Square D Homeline have a 10 year warranty. I am not sure on GE or Murray, but at the very least they have a 10 year warranty. In fact, I know of no breaker with less than a 10 year warranty.
 
  #8  
Old 11-17-14, 09:37 AM
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SquareD QO series

Bought the "old" one at Lowes and the new one at Home Depot.

- Ken
 
  #9  
Old 11-18-14, 07:22 AM
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Retailers typically have no way to honor the manufacturer's warranty. If you had taken it to any Square D distributor they would have handed you a new one, no charge. That being said, you could have taken it back to Lowes for a full refund, they'll take anything back.
 
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