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for USA, Canada and other countries running a 60 Hz supply service

The device could be faulty or it could be working perfectly, as they typically do. If you mess about with it without understanding how it works you could receive a life threatening shock. Another likely possibility, as GFCIs are extremely sensitive, is that you have plugged in a piece of equipment which is faulty and that equipment should therefore be thrown away.


Depending on what is happening, there could be several possibilities:

A) You have put too many items onto the circuit the GFCI is protecting, so it cannot sense properly and trips, or

B) You have not had it installed correctly, and the Sense Ground wire has become corroded with time and moisture, or

C) The wiring that is further down the line, if it "protects" other sockets and circuits downstream from this one, have problems with the insulation breaking down, or

D) Something else is wrong and you need to call a competent person to advise on your home wiring.


If the gfci trips this means there is more than 10mA current between the ground the hot and neutral wires which, in, say, a kitchen or outside the home or in some other damp area, usually means something got wet.

2. If the particular circuit's main circuit breaker has tripped then this particular GFCI outlet cannot be reset and it won't test either, with the power out. If you can reset the circuit's main circuit breaker at the panel, you may then find the GFCI works. A second outlet somewhere in the same room or elsewhere might also not have worked because it is connected to the load terminals of the tripped GFCI.

3. If the circuit's main circuit breaker at the panel can be reset and the GFCI still won't work then you may have a damaged GFCI or there may be some equipment still plugged into it - or into a second outlet somewhere in the same room or elsewhere - that has a fault. so if there is no equipment plugged in anywhere, either at or after the GFCI, get the GFCI replaced.

4. I suggest you probably should call an electrician.


The Capacitor on a single phase motor (for a "fan", etc.) sometimes causes a GFCI to trip. Commercial Grade GFCIs are better suited to this application.


Two other things can cause false tripping:

1. A noise filter or surge protector in the circuit after the GFCI bypasses high frequency noise to ground. This unbalances the current in the hot and neutral, tripping the device.

2. Dirt or insects inside the outlet box. One time I opened an outlet box that was tripping the GFCI even with no plug in the socket. The box was full of dead roaches. I removed the bugs, and the device started working normally.


GFCI circuit breakers perform two functions. If it is a true circuit breaker it will prevent "over-current" conditions from overheating the wiring of your home and hopefully minimize the potential for fire. All circuit breakers and fuses are designed to 'trip' or 'blow' when an over-current condition exists. GFCI circuits have an additional function. To prevent or minimize the potential for hazardous shocks, GFCI circuits compare the current that goes across the two wires that make up the hot and common voltage lines of an outlet. If the current on the two wires does not match precisely, the assumption is that current is being lost to something outside of the circuit. This condition is called a "ground fault". In simple terms, it means that there is high potential that YOU are grounded, as in standing in a puddle of water, and YOU have touched the "hot" side of the circuit or the device somehow allows current to go outside of the normal voltage path. A ground fault can exist if an outside outlet has become wet with rainwater, or an outside extension cord is laying in water or an appliance is in the process of failing and voltage leaks to the ground wire. But as already mentioned, it can also indicate that the GFCI has failed, although that doesn't often happen.


A GFCI [Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter] trips when it senses a ground fault. In a correctly wired circuit the return path should be on the neutral wire. The circuit will trip if the GFCI senses a difference in the current (amps) in the Black "hot wire" from what is returning in the White "neutral wire". The two current values should be the same unless you are leaking electricity, which is called a ground fault. This can happen in a wet location when electricity is using the water as its ground and not returning back through the neutral wire. Older motors can also leak electricity in to their motor housings. If the electricity is not returning through it's designed path then you may have a safety hazard and your GFCI is protecting you.

To test a tripping GFCI follow these steps.

1. Remove every appliance connected to the GFCI's circuit and then try to reset it. If the GFCI doesn't reset there may either be a wiring fault behind a socket outlet or your GFCI itself has become faulty.

2. Make sure what whatever you are plugging in to the GFCI is dry and not damaged.

3. Only plug in one item of electrical equipment at a time. If you are plugging in a defective item it will cause the GFCI to trip and that item should be replaced.


From what this question is saying, the TEST button is doing its job - it is testing ( = checking) that the GFCI is working correctly!

After you have tested the device by pressing the TEST button you should be able to press the RESET button again - and DO NOT PRESS THE TEST button again - and everything should work.

Either your GFCI is bad [in which case replace it] or it is working perfectly.


It is probably working. My sister had a similar problem. She just kept resetting until it held, but every time she got in her hot tub she got shocked.

Luckily she wasn't killed. It turned out to be the fly weights shorting out against the capacitor wires, turning the water into the hot leg. Don't mess around with this kind of problem.


Another possible cause for tripping a GFCI is radio frequency energy. If you are close to a transmitting station this may occur. I have seen a GFCI trip when a car, equipped with a transmitter, pulled into a driveway and keyed up the transmitter. If the output is high enough and/or at a particular frequency, this may happen. If so, the GFCI(s) may need to be shielded.


As always, if you are in doubt about what to do, the best advice anyone should give you is to call a licensed electrician to advise what work is needed.

Before you do any work yourself,

on electrical circuits, equipment or appliances,

always use a test meter to ensure the circuit is, in fact, de-energized.




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โˆ™ 2014-01-28 05:11:21
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Q: What might cause GFCI outlet problems?
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Related Questions

Will another electrical outlet that is in line with a GFCI outlet cause it to kick off?

A down stream receptacle that is connected to the upstream GFCI will be protected. If the downstream receptacle senses a fault the upstream GFCI will trip.

Why would a new GFCI outlet test open ground?

Ground wire not secured at the GFCI outlet or disconnected at another outlet feeding power to the GFCI outlet.

What might cause outlet problems without a gfci?

You need to describe the problem you are having with outlet. Most common problems are loose wires at a screw or push type connector, a wirenut coming loose, screws on side touching metal or nicks in wires causing shorts. Occasionally the outlet itself is bad internally. I have seen this after lightning strikes.

What happens when you plug a GFCI protected extension cord into an outlet that is GFCI protected?

You get double GFCI protection. Either the built in GFCI unit pops or the outlet pops.

Do you need a gfci outlet if you have a gfci breaker?

Not if the GFCI breaker is supplying the circuit you are wanting to put the GFCI receptacle into.

Will plugging in an extension cord with GFIC into a wall outlet with GFIC cause a trip?

In a word NO, that will not cause either GFCI to trip. The correct term is GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)

Do you wire a gfci outlet differently?

No, except that you insert the wires into the holes on the back of the outlet. The power in connects to the LINE side of the outlet and power out connects to the LOAD side of the outlet. This is clearly marked on the back of the outlet. This will not only protect the outlet with the GFCI installed but all outlets receiving their power from that GFCI. If you do not want to protect the outlets receiving power from the outlet then connect that outgoing wire to the LINE side also. But know that only the outlet with the GFCI will be protected and all other outlets will not be GFCI protected.

Can you use a GFCI plug into a GFCI outlet?

Yes you can. Lots of blow dryers have GFCI protection built in.

How do you replace a GFCI outlet with a standard outlet?

Not advisable to do this. That GFCI outlet is there for a reason as it's either outdoors or next to a water source like a sink or washtub.

Can you replace a GFCI outlet box with a standard outlet?

Yes as long as it is not required to be gfci protected by the electrical code. Bathrooms, outdoor receptacles, are some that are required to be of gfci type.

Does a GFCI outlet buzz when it trips?


How do you replace a GFCI outlet?


How do you wire one outlet of a double gfci outlet to a light switch?

Connect the incoming power wire and the outgoing power wire going to the light switch to the line side of the GFCI outlet. This will protect the outlet and will not turn off power to the light if the GFCI trips.

Why does the reset button on a wall outlet pop out when something is plugged into it?

Assume this is a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. The GFCI looks for current that is flowing to ground, in a manner that could result in electrical shock to a user. The appliance that is being plugged in could be defective, the wiring connected to the load side of the GFCI may be incorrect, or the GFCI outlet could be defective. Try using another appliance. If the GFCI holds, the first appliance is most likely the cause.

Do all electrical outlets in a garage need to be GFCI?

Yes, but you can feed multiple outlets from one GFCI outlet. Make the first outlet fed in the cicuit a GFCI. Search for GFCI outlet with Google, etc. and I'm sure you will find an explanantion of how. Most GFCI's come with instructions also.

How do you wire an outdoor timer into a GFCI outlet?

I assume you are hard wiring it and not plugging it in. The power coming into the GFCI outlet connects to the line side of the GFCI outlet. If you want the outdoor timer protected by the GFCI then connect the wire going to the timer to the load side of the outlet. If you do not want the timer protected then connect it to the line side. On the back of the GFCI if you look closely you will see Line &amp; Load marked on the back.

Can a lightning strike cause gfci to trip?

Yes, and it can cause all sorts of strange problems in your house. We got hit by lighting and somehow it only affected one outlet in the whole house where TV was connected. A ball of bright light came from the outlet and traveled across the living room.

When would it be a better idea in a residence to install a GFCI breaker instead of an GFCI outlet?

GFCI Breakers are quite a bit more expensive than a GFCI outlet. More often than not a typical residence will need only a handful of GFCI outlets that combined together will be cheaper than a GFCI breaker. If you need to protect a series of outlets with GFCI protection you can simply connect the rest of the outlets on that same circuit downstream from the first outlet on the line and make that the GFCI. All you have to do is connect all the other outlets to the LOAD side of the GFCI outlet. If a GFCI fault occurs in any of the outlets down stream they will trip that very first GFCI plug you placed and keep you safe.

Do you have a picture of a GFCI outlet?

Click the link.

What type of gfci outlet is best for 1600 watts?

A load of 1600 watts should be placed on a 20 amp 120 volt GFCI outlet.

Why would a wall outlet blow but no other outlets be affected and circuit breaker was not tripped?

It could be a GFCI outlet, and the reset button needs pushed. It could be protected by a GFCI outlet somewhere that needs the reset button pushed. It could have had a wire come loose.If you don't find a GFCI outlet that needs to have the reset button pressed, you should not use the outlet and get someone over right away to fix it. A problem like this could cause a house fire whether the outlet is being used or not.

What device senses short circuits and stops electrical flow when ground fault occur?

It is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or GFCI. It can either be equipped in your electric panel as a GFCI breaker, or in a GFCI outlet which also lets you extend the GFCI protection to other outlets "down the line" from the GFCI outlet.

How much amperage is needed to trip a 20amp GFCI outlet?

A GFCI trips when it detects a difference in the amperage going to the outlet and what is coming back. Even 4-6 miliamps difference will trip the outlet.

How do you wire a gfi outlet?

A GFCI outlet is designed to protect the homeowner from electrocution near water. You must have a GFCI installed at any outlet that is within 6' of a water source. You connect the incoming power supply to the LINE side of the outlet and all the other regular outlets you wish to protect to the LOAD side of the outlet. This way you do not have to install a GFCI at all the outlets on that circuit. That one GFCI will protect multiple outlets on the same circuit.

Why won't two GFCI protection outlets located inside the garage reset after you power washed the outside of the house?

There is probably water in an outside outlet. GFCI outlets monitor the neutral wire, and any moister it detects will cause it to trip out. Also the outlets themselves could have been damaged and need replaceing. The circuit breakers might also be tripped, the GFCI outlet is designed to not reset unless there is power from the breaker. Hope this helps.