Identifying GFCI Circuit Problems
Mike in Wyoming asks; 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
Electric Circuit Listing
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Hot Tub Wiring
Hot Tub Wiring Diagram Information
Electrical Codes and Details for Spa and Hot Tub Wiring. Essentials for your installation, including the required GFCI ground fault protection and circuit wire size.
This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI and GFCI Receptacles and how they are wired.
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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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 that I use to easily Detect 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.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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