GFCI keeps going bad.

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Old 08-11-17, 10:01 AM
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GFCI keeps going bad.

I have a GFCI outlet in the basement beside the electrical panel. that circuit then continues on to an outdoor outlet. So the outdoor circuit is protected by the GFCI outlet in line. The problem is that the GFCI keeps going bad and cant be reset.

a few months ago, that GFI began tripping and after resetting it, it would trip again the next day or so. after a week it could not be reset anymore. I replaced the 15amp circuit breaker in the panel and the GFI outlet to make sure it was not one or the other. its been working fine up until yesterday. the GFI tripped again and now can not be reset so must have gone bad?

The outlet in the basement is used for plugging in my cable power and alarm system. the outlet that is outside does get used from time to time, but generally is not used.

the home was built approx. 2 years ago.

any idea what could be causing this and suggestions for a solution?

only thing I can think of is that the power transformers for the alarm and cable box system may be generating a modest amount of heat and could be causing the GFI to breakdown?

I will probably install another dedicated circuit for the alarm and cable power that is not GFI protected. if that outlet is installed within a few feet of the Water Heater, is that a code violation? if so, how far would I need to move it away from the tank??

thanks!
 
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Old 08-11-17, 12:51 PM
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You have a fairly common problem. It's not a defective GFI receptacle.... it's what's connected to the load side. Since the circuit goes to an outside receptacle.... there is a good chance that receptacle is wet. You need to check every receptacle that is connected to the load side of that GFI receptacle.

The alarm system and cable power supply should be on their own GFI receptacle so that nothing downstream can cause it to trip.
 
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Old 08-11-17, 01:20 PM
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Thanks PJ
Couple of questions: 1. It has been totally dry all week so I question if that outside outlet has gotten wet prior to tripping this week. I'll check when I get home though anyway. 2. Does the separate outlet for alarm and cable need to be GFI?
 
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Old 08-11-17, 02:14 PM
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If the location of that receptacle is in a basement then it needs to be GFI protected.
I'm an alarm installer and many times will install a single receptacle for just the alarm.

You could disconnect the load wires to that GFI and see if it still trips. If it no longer trips... you'll know the problem is out in the circuit.
 
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Old 08-11-17, 05:54 PM
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Thanks Pete, I'll try disconnecting the Load Wires and see if that works. I'm out of town until Sunday but will do it when I get back.
thanks again.
Mike.
 
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Old 08-12-17, 09:48 PM
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I'm an alarm installer and many times will install a single receptacle for just the alarm.
Under 210.8, Part 5. Added for 2017
(5) Unfinished portions or areas of the basement not intended
as habitable rooms
Exception to (5): A receptacle supplying only a permanently
installed fire alarm or burglar alarm system shall not be
required to have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection.

I believe this exception used to exist for garages as well, but no longer does (ask the inspector for your AHJ, they may see that differently). If the alarm equipment also covers fire then it should be red receptacle as well, as laid out in 760.41(B)
 
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Old 08-13-17, 05:46 AM
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Thx 411. The alarm is also connected to hard wired smoke/fire alarms for the house. Is a red receptacle the same thing as non gfi standard receptacle? Also - what is AHJ?
There are other receptacles in the basement that are mounted to the ceiling joists that don't appear to be gfi protected. One of which is a 240v for central vac. Is that not permitted as well?
Other than this mechanical room - the rest of the basement is finished and there are receptacles throughout that are also not gfi protected.

Does it matter that the basement is a walkout on one side (making it not "below grade" )?

Thank you!
 

Last edited by mchristo; 08-13-17 at 05:50 AM. Reason: Additional info
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Old 08-13-17, 09:42 AM
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Is a red receptacle the same thing as non gfi standard receptacle?
Yes, it is just as different color than ivory or white or brown or blue receptacles.

AHJ- Authority Having Jurisdiction, local inspection office.

In most cases 240v receptacles do not require GFCI protection.
Does it matter that the basement is a walkout on one side (making it not "below grade" )?
Never lived in basement-land so I can't say.
 
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Old 08-14-17, 08:02 AM
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Does it matter that the basement is a walkout on one side (making it not "below grade" )?
A basement is a basement whether partially above or totally below grade.
 
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Old 08-19-17, 07:54 AM
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Well I returned home last weekend and it was actually the circuit breaker had tripped.
i am still planning to add a dedicated circuit for the alarm. I will make it a GFI.
Thanks to everyone for your advice. This is a great forum because of the people.
 
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