GFCI spark

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-27-18, 06:12 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
GFCI spark

So we just had some kitchen backsplash tile done. I had shut off the breaker for the contractor to do his work. Turned on the breaker a few minutes ago and noticed that the green lights weren’t on any of the GFCI outlets (there are 3 on the same breaker)

One of the GFCI breakers also has a light switch next to it. So I turned that on and did get power on the kitchen light. I pressed the reset and test button on one of the GFCI outlets, but no change.

With the kitchen light still on and none of the GFCI outlets working, I plugged my iPhone into an adjacent GFCI outlet. Note that this second one I plugged into was loose and away from the wall, but the wires were very secure. I tried removing the iPhone charger and got a pretty big spark and the kitchen light went out.

i went to the breaker and noticed that no breakers were tripped. I turned the breaker off and then tried to turn it back on. It wouldn’t fully go as there was kind of a “hum”. I waited a minute and tried again and the breaker went on.

I then noticed that all 3 GFCI outlets has the green light on them.

I don’t know what happened nor do I know why those green lights didn’t come on when I originally turned the breaker on.
Any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-27-18, 07:28 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
By code unless you mean lights that plug-in they should not be on the receptacle circuits. USually there are two receptacle circuits. There should be only one GFCI per circuit. Are you saying your wiring varies from that?

As to your problem you need to open and check the tightness of all the receptacle screws.
 
  #3  
Old 04-27-18, 08:14 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4,561
Received 42 Votes on 37 Posts
Metal outlet boxes?
If so all it takes is one outlet to close to the box causing a screw to come in contact with the box.
I wrap all my outlets with electrical tape to prevent this from happening.
 
  #4  
Old 04-27-18, 08:20 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
According to Leviton, the ground wire touched one of the screws (with no wire connected) on the outlet causing the spark. But I thought that the ground wire could touch anything except the hot wire?

The electrical box is plastic not metal.

The copper ground wire has some black on it and there not enough slack for me to cut it off. Is having a burnt wire like that safe?
 

Last edited by cmjb13; 04-27-18 at 08:58 PM.
  #5  
Old 04-27-18, 09:17 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,310
Received 38 Votes on 36 Posts
According to Leviton, the ground wire touched one of the screws (with no wire connected) on the outlet causing the spark. But I thought that the ground wire could touch anything except the hot wire?
Ground wire should not touch any screws. If it was touching neutral, it will not cause a spark, but still should not be touching. If it was neutral on the load side, then it will trip GFCI.
For ground wire to spark, it must have touched a screw of hot terminal of either line or load side.

The copper ground wire has some black on it and there not enough slack for me to cut it off. Is having a burnt wire like that safe?
If the wire has not gotten thinner, then it is safe.
 
  #6  
Old 04-28-18, 07:21 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Looking at this again during daylight and with a clear head (yesterday was a rough day) it looks like the first spark where everything was connected and all electricity was on was caused by the ground wire for the GFCI touching the black hot wire (bottom right screw if you are looking at its face) on the 3 way switch next to it.

The 2nd smaller spark looks like it came from the same ground wire touching the hot wire on the 3 way switch difference being the breaker to the GFCI was off, but the breaker to the 3 way switch was not

The black mark on the copper ground lines up with the black hot screw, so it looks like that was the issue.

The copper wire appears nicked where it touched the hot wire. I don’t think I have enough slack to cut it.

Any suggestions?

Name:  spark.jpg
Views: 224
Size:  45.0 KB
 

Last edited by PJmax; 04-28-18 at 11:53 AM. Reason: enlarged pic
  #7  
Old 04-28-18, 07:57 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Boxes appear to be too recessed. You may need extension rings.
 
Attached Images  
  #8  
Old 04-28-18, 08:43 AM
pugsl's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 8,601
Received 29 Votes on 27 Posts
Can't see how much wire s burnt but if worried you can pigtail a longer ground wire to it. Don't think it is a problem.
 
  #9  
Old 04-28-18, 09:22 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,999
Received 40 Votes on 35 Posts
You can easily add more ground wire.
 
  #10  
Old 04-28-18, 11:54 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 54,665
Received 519 Votes on 489 Posts
The wiring needs to be carefully folded into the box.
Just jamming the receptacle in will create shorts like that.

That ground wire looks fine. Leave it as it is.
 
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: