Identifying GFCI Circuit Problems
How can I find out what is tripping a GFCI Breaker? Problems that Cause GFCI Circuits to Trip, Clearing the GFCI Circuit of Possible Problem Devices.
Electrical Question: How can I find out what is tripping a GFCI Breaker?
- We have a green house with an older hot tub. All of the power in this room is connected to a 50 amp GFI circuit breaker.
- There is no power going to that room and the breaker was tripped.
- I cannot reset the breaker because there are two GFCI receptacle plugs that I tried to reset but it looks like there must be an electric load on them before resetting.
- I cannot get a load to them because the breaker needs a current to also reset.
Any help with my vicious circle would be awesome.
This electrical wiring question came from: Mike, a Handyman from Casper, Wyoming.
Additional Comments: A lot of useful info thanks.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Mike.
How to Identify GFCI Circuit Problems
Application: Troubleshooting GFCI Circuit Problem.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of GFI outlets that will be added.
Precaution: Identify the GFCI outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional GFCI Outlet Wiring should be done according to local and national electrical GFCI Codes with a permit and be inspected.
Problems That Cause GFCI Circuits to Trip
Please Note: It is mentioned in this question that GFCI Outlets in the room are connected directly to the hot tub 50 amp GFCI circuit breaker, however the GFCI outlets should be connected to a separate circuit breaker which is sized appropriately to the size of the circuit wiring.
- Tripping GFCI Circuit
If the main GFI circuit breaker is tripping then the wiring and devices connected need to be inspected for a possible short or problem with the wiring or a device.
- Clearing the GFCI Circuit of Possible Problem Devices
Anything connected to the circuit should be removed one at a time to try to identify the source of the problem. Make a note of any devices that are causing the GFCI to trip off. Faulty devices will need to be inspected and evaluated to identify wiring or equipment problems.
- Problems with the GFCI Circuit Wiring
If the problem has not been isolated to a specific device then the room and hot tub circuits should be tested and to discover the fault. Circuit inspections and repairs are best performed by a licensed electrical contractor.
More about GFCI Circuits and Electrical Wiring
- House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
- Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring
- Using Electrical Testers
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This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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