Tricky problem with tripping breaker

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  #1  
Old 12-02-15, 11:00 AM
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Tricky problem with tripping breaker

I am at a total loss and hope someone can help me figure out this problem.

Electrical Configuration: 20 amp circuit feeding three things in a kitchen: 1) GFCI outlet; 2) Garbage disposal (on a switch); 3) regular outlet.

I tested all of the receptacles on the outlets and they all appear to be wired correctly.

Nothing is plugged into the GFCI, but I tested with appliances and it seems to work fine. Does not trip breaker.

There is a compact (20 inch wide, 4 burner) GAS range (stove/oven) plugged into the regular outlet. It is a very simple range, no clock or electrical controls. The electricity is only used for the electric starter to light the gas and an oven light that is controlled by a switch on the stove. The stove is pretty new, purchased within the last two years.

Here is the problem: If the range is plugged into the outlet, the breaker trips immediately when the switch for the disposal is turned on. The disposal doesn't start at all, the breaker trips immediately.

My first thought was that, as small as a load as it is, the stove and disposal was overloading the circuit and tripping the breaker. So I tested the disposal with appliances plugged in and running on the GFCI on the same breaker. No problem, I could run a microwave from the GFCI and the disposal at the same time without tripping the breaker. So the load doesn't seem to be the problem.

My next thought was that something was bad with the regular outlet. So I tested both a two prong food processor and the same three prong Microwave on the regular outlet and there were no problems. I could turn on the disposal and the appliances without tripping the breaker.

So my final thought is that there is something strange going on with the stove. The stove works fine when plugged in; it is only when the switch for the disposal is turned on that the breaker trips. Again, it is also a pretty new stove. I don't know where to start to investigate what might be happening within the stove wiring to cause this issue.

Does anyone have any idea about what might be happening?

Thanks in advance for your ideas.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-02-15, 11:20 AM
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How long has this been going on,is the breaker that trips a GFCI?
 
  #3  
Old 12-02-15, 11:21 AM
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Make and model number of the stove, please.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 12:34 PM
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I have seen several gas stoves say they are not to be used on gfi protected circuits.
 
  #5  
Old 12-02-15, 01:08 PM
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This is the stove :

The Home Depot
Amana 20 in. 2.6 cu. ft. Gas Range in White
Model# AGG222VDW
Internet/Catalog# 100658987

I think that the breaker is a GFI, one of the plugs it feeds is. It has been going on for a while.
 
  #6  
Old 12-02-15, 01:17 PM
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I looked at the manual, and it does not say anything about not being compatible with GFI.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 01:58 PM
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feeding three things in a kitchen: 1) GFCI outlet... I think that the breaker is a GFI
If so best practice there shouldn't be a GFCI receptacle. Probably not the cause of your problem but something to check. Does the breaker have a test button.

Example, yours may vary.
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  #8  
Old 12-02-15, 02:45 PM
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I'll have to check for the test button on the breaker. This is in a rental property so I need to get back there to check. I read around about problems with ranges and GFI and everything I read had to do with the range tripping the breaker either when plugged in or when the igniter is activated. The strange thing is that this is not what is happening here. The stove works fine, it is only when I flip on the disposal that I have the problem.
 
  #9  
Old 12-02-15, 07:40 PM
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To the other electrical wizards out there, do you think it could be a ground/neutral reversal at one of the receptacles? When the disposal is turned on, it's creating a 'short' between the sink piping which is bonded to the gas piping?

Out of curiosity, is the supply water pipes to the sink faucet copper or plastic (most newer faucets use plastic pipe). Also is the drain pipe from the sink into the wall plastic or metal?

It's a bit of a long shot, but it's my only guess that would sort of explain how it trips the breaker with the stove just being plugged in.

-Mike
 
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Old 12-03-15, 09:37 AM
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I'll have to check the pipe situation when I go back this weekend. What is really confusing to me is why the situation only occurs with the stove, and not when other appliances are plugged into the same receptacle.
 
  #11  
Old 12-03-15, 11:35 AM
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The problem with GFCI and some gas ranges (also applies to gas furnaces and similar) is that some of them use the chassis ground as a return path for the spark ignitor and/or the flame sensor in furnaces and ovens. The spark ignitor would only be a problem when the burner is lighting. The flame sensor (if it has one) could be a problem any time the range is plugged in.

Have you tried flipping the switch with the disposal unplugged, and with something else like a lamp plugged in where the disposal usually is?

Is this a situation that used to work and now doesn't or newly installed and never worked? Are any of the components newly installed? Anything else newly installed around the time this problem started?

Zorfdt's idea of a ground path through the gas piping is interesting. Could be happening if the disposal winding is going bad and putting some voltage onto the sink. It should trip the GFCI on it's own, but only if the disposal cord is properly grounding the unit. Certainly a possibility we can't rule out yet.
 
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Old 12-03-15, 03:05 PM
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I had one experience with a motor that sometimes tripped a GFCI. It turned out to have a bad green wire connection inside the cord set. That is, the ground was intermittent.
This could be a case of the stove having some leakage current, and then the motor puts it over the trip limit.
Per Ben; try something else plugged into the disposal recept. Like a 100watt light bulb or blender.
 
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Old 12-03-15, 03:52 PM
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I had one experience with a motor that sometimes tripped a GFCI. It turned out to have a bad green wire connection inside the cord set. That is, the ground was intermittent.
That would be a strange issue. A ground connection isn't required for the GFCI device to operate.
 
  #14  
Old 12-03-15, 06:12 PM
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The disposal is hard-wired; not plugged in. So I would have to disconnect it completely; which I can do. I could even rig up a plug receptacle if it would help the test.

The problem started after this stove was installed. The previous stove didn't have a plug, it just had a pilot light (no electronic igniter). Nothing else was installed at that time, everything else is the same. And as I mentioned. I can run other things off of the receptacle that the stove is connected and run the disposal. It is only when the stove is plugged in that I have the issue.
 
  #15  
Old 12-04-15, 12:43 PM
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Just to prove its not a ground issue with the stove and for aTEST ONLY, try plugging the stove into the receptacle using a 2 wire plug adapter.also one other thought,if that stove is fed with SS flex gas line is it properly bonded?
 
  #16  
Old 12-08-15, 06:30 AM
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I will be there tomorrow and will give that a test and check the bonding. I think that the gas feed is black pipe coming out of the wall, and then there is flex from the gas feed to the stove.
 
  #17  
Old 12-09-15, 05:38 AM
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Check this link out.
http://www.csstsafety.com/Images/CSS...h-Bulletin.pdf
 

Last edited by Geochurchi; 12-09-15 at 05:40 AM. Reason: Redo link
  #18  
Old 12-09-15, 01:29 PM
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I was back at the property today and have gathered some additional information that I hope will help lead to a solution.

First, per Geochurchi's suggestion, I plugged the stove in using a 3 to 2 prong adapter and tested the disposal. Everything worked fine. The disposal ran with the stove plugged in without tripping the breaker.

Additionally, I took a look at the gas system for bonding and this is what I discovered (fyi, it is a two unit building).

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It looks like there is a bonding clip, but it is loose, painted over, and is upstream from the meters rather than downstream.

Are these two findings consistent with each other? Does the fact that the stove works with the two prong plug point to the bonding being an issue, or is this two separate issues. I'm confused on this point.

Also, fyi, the stove itself is connected to the service by a short flex pipe, but the gas service coming out of the wall is pipe.

Thanks again to all for your help.
 
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Old 12-09-15, 02:04 PM
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I wish I could explain the reason the reason it worked with the adapter,you have isolated the ground from the range, it would be a good plan to clean and tighten the bond on the gas meters and bond around that flex at the range
 
  #20  
Old 12-09-15, 02:19 PM
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It sounds to me more like the range has a ground-neutral bond somewhere inside. It could be by design or it could be a stripped/loose wire somewhere in the range touching the metal case.

I think the best option at this time would be to contact the manufacturer and see if this is normal behavior for that particular model. If not a replacement may be required. If it is normal behavior, the range receptacle needs to have GFCI protection removed. The best way to do that would be to replace all of the other receptacles on the circuit with GFCI receptacles and only use the LINE terminals. This will provide GFCI protection at all of the countertop locations and not at the range.
 
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