4th of July GFCI Style!

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Old 02-19-19, 11:22 AM
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4th of July GFCI Style!

Miss Sallie heard something start buzzing last night when she was in bed and the house quiet. She got up to investigate and heard something go "pop." As she turned the corner into the kitchen, sparks shot out of a GFCI outlet on the wall. They stopped and she discovered a breaker tripped in the panel in the garage that would not reset.

Nothing was plugged into the outlet at the time. The house is 20 yrs old and we have not had any problems at all with any circuits prior. No bad weather or anything going on at the time.
 
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Old 02-19-19, 12:40 PM
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Loose connection. Since it probably feeds other that would be where the load was that lit the sparkler.
 
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Old 02-19-19, 01:14 PM
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That's what I was thinking too. So I should be able to just replace the outlet and be good?

I sse Leviton has a new model that has a self test feature where it tests GFCI capability every 15 secs. Might try one of those?

What's AFCI? Looks like its supposed to be superior to GFCI for protection?

Thanks for the reply Ray!
 
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Old 02-19-19, 01:22 PM
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Yes, and trim back the wires if they are visibly damaged. I think all GFCI receptacles are self-testing now -- new requirement a couple years ago.

AFCI is really a different thing than GFCI, not superior or inferior, but serves a different function. GFCI protects people from getting shocked when using electricity around water. AFCI detects sparking from frayed wires or bad connections. You can get breakers that do either or both functions. In a kitchen GFCI protection is mandatory. AFCI breakers are now mandatory in new construction, but not required in existing construction if your house was built with standard breakers.
 
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Old 02-19-19, 02:46 PM
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All new GFCI receptacles and breakers have the self test function. This requirement is another step in the continuous improvement of the Standard for Safety for Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters, UL 943. This new requirement addresses the reality that consumers seldom (if ever) push the “Test” button of installed GFCIs. A past field study revealed a number of devices that were inoperative, prompting the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to request a change in the safety standard to call for technology that, to the extent practical, would not require users to conduct manual tests.


https://iaeimagazine.org/magazine/20...-requirements/
 
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Old 02-19-19, 03:07 PM
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That's very interesting! I know enough about electricity to know NOT to do ANYTHING with a circuit without a lot of investigation. Thanks for the info everyone!
 
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Old 02-19-19, 05:07 PM
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It would be interesting/helpful to know what was connected to the LOAD side of that GFI receptacle.
A receptacle just sitting there with nothing plugged will not usually sparkle like that unless the downstream load is high.
 
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Old 02-20-19, 07:45 PM
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All fixed up! I got a replacement AFCI/GFCI outlet this morning. Pulled the old outlet from box and discovered one of the white wires(4 wires + bare copper ground) was disconnected. Nothing at all looked burned but used the new outlet anyway. Hooked all wires back up to new outlet and outlet did not work at all. An electrician friend warned me that different manufacturers varied and load and line might be reversed from one brand to another. Turned out that was the case here. Reversed the wires and got a couple red flashes from the status light when throwing the breaker. Pushed the test and then reset button and the light went green.

As far as PJ asking what was hooked up, there was only a usb device charging hub hooked up to the outlet at the time the outlet blew. The other outlet on the branch was empty. My electrician friend said there was a diode in these that would go out sometime.

Thanks again for the help!
 
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Old 02-21-19, 06:16 PM
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An electrician friend warned me that different manufacturers varied and load and line might be reversed from one brand to another.

For future reference, regardless of manufacturer, "Line" and "Load" markings are always on the back of the device.
 
 

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