Garage GFCI Popping with Moisture

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Old 02-03-20, 05:17 PM
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Garage GFCI Popping with Moisture

I have a garage GFCI that is near a sink. When there is heavy rain or snow outside the GFCI will activate. A day later, the GFCI will reset, but after things dry out a bit. The electrician that wired the home came over and after looking at the outdoor waterproof boxes on the same circuit and not finding a problem - removed the GFCI. Oh mercy! I don't want to stay out of code, but would like to resolve the problem where there is no obvious moisture intrusion source. All the boxes are sealed tight (box and flexible mortar around box).

Has anyone else ever seen a issue like this? Any ideas?
 

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02-09-20, 12:38 PM
pattenp
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manden
As far as I know the WR type just have little flaps over the openings
The WR rated outlets are made from different materials that are resistant to rust. I believe the hole flaps you are talking about are the tamper resistance flaps in the socket holes..
 
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Old 02-03-20, 05:22 PM
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Something on the load side of the GFI receptacle is getting wet. Moisture in the air is not enough to cause a trip. You may have to disconnect the load wiring on the GFI receptacle and see if the GFI trips in the next rain.
 
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Old 02-03-20, 07:16 PM
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looking at the outdoor waterproof boxes on the same circuit and not finding a problem
If it were me, I would probably open up each box and take a look. Moisture issues are usually pretty easy to find as you'll see remnants of the moisture in the box and on the wires.

The next step might be to install a separate GFI receptacle at each outdoor/garage location. It may not resolve all your moisture/tripping issues, but it would limit it to the specific box that's having problems.

As you mentioned, I wouldn't want to leave it without a GFI. Sounds like a bad plan.
 
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Old 02-03-20, 07:51 PM
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Thatís what is so strange. There are no signs of water in either box. I just donít get it.
 
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Old 02-04-20, 12:24 AM
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Have you tried a replacement gfci outlet?
 
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Old 02-04-20, 04:57 AM
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What I would also check in those boxes is if the receptacles are wrapped in electrical tape. Some do wrap them with layers of tape and then when the box gets damp inside it takes far longer for the area/moisture in the electrical tape to dry out than the box cavity itself. If there is moisture under the tape and touching the screws then you could have issues. Although if the boxes were installed properly and the receptacles were rated WR (weather resistant) and in use bubble covers were used then you really should not be getting any moisture in the boxes which would affect the GFCIs.
 
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Old 02-04-20, 11:20 AM
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I've always installed the GFI as the first outlet on the circuit on the inside of the garage, not in the outside box.
 
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Old 02-04-20, 12:57 PM
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joecaption -->
I've always installed the GFI as the first outlet on the circuit on the inside of the garage, not in the outside box.
Doing that will not make a difference. The outside downstream receptacles are protected by the GFCI inside the garage and the outside receptacles will trip the garage GFCI receptacle as if they were GFCI receptacles themselves.

The only difference is that the GFCI receptacle in the garage does not have to be WR (weather rated).
 
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Old 02-05-20, 09:34 PM
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Thanks for the help. No tape in boxes and yes, the GFCI has been changed. I did read about different types of GFCI's that are "not as sensitive". I also noticed the WR GFCI's.
 
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Old 02-06-20, 03:51 PM
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Weather Resistant devices are only made with materials that can handle outdoors better than standard devices. They perform the same.
 
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Old 02-08-20, 07:22 PM
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I thought there was a type T or S? I was told they don't trip as fast.
 
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Old 02-09-20, 05:19 AM
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I am not saying that you are wrong but the only types that you mention of a T or S that I know of would be

T=Tamper Resistant
S=Self Testing
and
W=Weather Resistant

All of the above would trip under the same scenarios though.

There are three types of GFCIs
#1 - Circuit Breaker
#2 - Receptacle
#3 - Portable (which one would use if they were using electric hand tools outside such as in construction sights, electric lawn equipment etc).

Whether a GFCI receptacle is tamper resistant or not does not determine if it is more or less sensitive. It just adds an extra layer of protection for young children so they can't stick a metal object into the receptacle.

All of the types are self testing (button on them).

And then there is Weather Resistant (WR)

The entire point of a GFCI is to protect from personal injury (electrocution). If a GFCI was less sensitive meaning it had a higher "trip" level from 4 to 6 milli amps that would increase the chance of personal injury. The GFCI device measures the current coming in on the hot and compares it to the current going back out on the neutral and if the difference is greater than 4 to 6 mili amps it will trip and cut power to the circuit or to itself (a GFCI receptacle wired "Line" only).

Maybe the terminology is different from what you are attempting to explain in type T and S.
 
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Old 02-09-20, 06:53 AM
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As far as I know the WR type just have little flaps over the openings.

You said the outside ones have weatherproof boxes so I do not think these would solve the problem.

You could tape over the outside boxes perhaps that may help narrow down the problem receptacle.
If nothing trips the next rain/snow then un-tape one receptacle and wait for the next event.
This will take a lot of time and only works if the fault happens every rain event.

Alternatively get rid of the load on this GFI and install another one on the next receptacle down the line with it's load feeding the other receptacles. This also could also take a while to find the fault.

Or just get rid of all the load sides and install a GFI in every box..

The above assumes that it is an outside box causing the problem.
 
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Old 02-09-20, 06:57 AM
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If the outdoor boxes do not have an in-use cover(s) I would recommend installing some. They will help to keep water out of the devices.

 
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Old 02-09-20, 12:38 PM
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manden
As far as I know the WR type just have little flaps over the openings
The WR rated outlets are made from different materials that are resistant to rust. I believe the hole flaps you are talking about are the tamper resistance flaps in the socket holes..
 
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