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  • GFCI Outlet

    I have a GFCI outlet in the garage that seems to have at least 8 outlets connected downstream from it, including two outlets in the master bath near the sinks. Nothing unusual is plugged into any of the outlets (lamps, tv, cablebox, etc). The GFCI has been tripping recently, and I'm not sure if it is due to possible failure of the unit itself or some problem with an item plugged in downsteam from it. The house is approximately 20 years old; I've no idea how old the GFCI may be.

    I unplugged all items plugged into the downstream outlets and have slowly begun plugging them all back in. The GFCI has not tripped yet. The first item downstream from the GFCI is a small freezer unit.

    The circuit breaker that protects this circuit is 20A. I havent looked at the GFCI, but am guessing it is either 15-20A.

    Any possible solution?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: GFCI Outlet

    Don't plug the freezer into the GFCI. Freezers and refrigerators often trip them due to the load demand with motor start-up. Why don't you try temporarily plugging the freezer into a non-GFCI outlet via an extension cord. Then see if the GFCI trips or not with the freezer removed from the equation.
    Cheers,
    Jim Don

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    • #3
      Re: GFCI Outlet

      Originally posted by JimDon View Post
      Don't plug the freezer into the GFCI. Freezers and refrigerators often trip them due to the load demand with motor start-up. Why don't you try temporarily plugging the freezer into a non-GFCI outlet via an extension cord. Then see if the GFCI trips or not with the freezer removed from the equation.
      Cheers,
      Jim Don
      Excellent advise. A freezer or refrigerator really shouldn't be on a GFCI protected circuit. If it trips and you don't find it quickly you have to deal with food losses.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: GFCI Outlet

        Have you been getting a lot of rain lately? More specifically do you find the GFCI is tripping more frequently when it has been raining?

        When I had a GFCI that seemed to be randomly tripping, I tracked it down to an outdoor outlet that apparently wasn't properly protected from the elements. When it rained, moisture was getting inside this box and tripping the GFCI.

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        • #5
          Re: GFCI Outlet

          I've had a few GFCI receptacles that would nuisance trip. In each case, replacing the receptacle made the problem go away.

          My advise is to avoid the cheap contractor pack variety, and replace yours with a good one. In my experience, the cheap ones will cause problems in about 20% of the devices. A good one costs more, but will be cheaper than what you lose in the freezer, plus the time you spend dealing with it.

          A GFCI that is working properly shouldn't trip due to power surges alone. They are designed to trip on ground faults, not surges. I won't say that a motor or compressor starting up will never coincide with a GFCI tripping, but that if that is indeed the case, then there is either a fault in the appliance, or a defective GFCI. If it's the GFCI, that's easy enough to replace. If the appliance has a ground fault, then it should not be used until the problem can be fixed.

          In one example, I had a GFCI with a radio plugged in that would trip when I used my TIG welder (240V, on a separate breaker in the same subpanel). I suspect that the high frequency start was contributing, but I still blame the GFCI and not the welder. I swapped the GFCI receptacle, and now I can weld and listen to music at the same time.

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