Breaker-protected outlets, or GFCI outlets, have their power breakers. In order to prevent ground faults, a ground fault circuit interrupter is used. In the event of a leak between the hot wire and ground of 5mA, the outlet will trip in order to protect anything plugged into it. Additionally, you will not receive a shock when plugging anything into it.
The use of GFCI outlets is required wherever there is water, such as in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, crawl spaces, unfinished basements, and outdoors. Circuits with 125-volt, single-phase, 15-amp, or 20-amp GFCI outlets can be installed.
Top 5 reasons why GCFI outlet keeps tripping?
1. Occurrence of ground faults
Live wires or hot wires can cause ground faults when they come into contact with a ground wire or an appliance’s grounding area. Current flows through water or people, which causes GFCIs to trip when the current flows in an unintended path.
As soon as the GFCI detects a slight leakage of current as low as 0.005 amps, it immediately trips.
All the switches should be off, and everything should be unplugged from the circuit. Keep the equipment in good condition. In the event that there is any damage to the electrical part, it will no longer be protected.
2. Receptacle box moisture
Another major cause of GFCI tripping is moisture accumulation. The most vulnerable installations are those outdoors, and rain is usually to blame. Because of Florida’s tropical climate, high humidity can also cause moisture to build up in receptacle boxes, making it harder for water to evaporate.
The first thing you should do is inspect the receptacle box. Open the receptacle box only after the breaker has been turned off. If you wish to reset the GFCI, you must make sure the box is dry before attempting to do so. With a simple tool like a blow dryer, this drying process can be speeded up, but it is best left to the professionals.
Install a weatherproof and locked receptor box if the installation will take place outdoors or in higher humidity areas, such as the bathroom or kitchen. You are at risk of accidental electric shock if there is moisture present.
3. An overloaded circuit
Overloading occurs when an electric wire or circuit cannot handle the amount of current flowing through it. When you connect defective or malfunctioning appliances, this can happen. Wires with corrosion or loose connections can also cause the problem. In the event that a GFCI outlet detects an overload, it will trip or “break” the circuit.
Reoccurring problems may require a new dedicated circuit and outlet to handle the appliances’ amperage requirements.
4. Faulty electrical system
The GFCI outlet you use consistently may be tripped by an electric fault resulting from faulty structural wiring. The problem could also be caused by an outlet connected to the same circuit, especially if it wasn’t originally installed in your home. To fix an electrical problem, you will need the help of an electrician.
5. Faulty GFCI outlet
After trying everything else, if the GFCI outlet reset does not resolve the problem, the outlet itself is likely defective. When the electricity system malfunctions, GFCI outlets have highly responsive internal circuitry. Eventually, the outlet’s sensitive circuitry wears out and becomes dysfunctional. The outlet may need to be repaired or even replaced in this case and should be handled by a qualified electrician.
How can a GFCI outlet that keeps tripping be fixed?
In the event that you do not have a license, you should call an electrician. Cooper Mechanical Services and Cooper Electrical Services cover nearly all electrical problems in homes and businesses.
Insulation worn or missing in the wall causes moisture, dust, and debris to leak and trip the outlet. A tight seal should be made between the housing and the wall.
Overloaded outlets: Too many appliances plugged in could overload the outlet, causing it to trip. Disconnect some and see if that helps. It might be a good idea to hire an electrician to install additional GFCI outlets in the area if that is the case. Leakage current clamp meters are useful tools for measuring leaks.
GFCIs are not guaranteed to last forever if the faulty receptacle or the wiring is corroded. If it is an older receptacle, simply replacing it may fix the problem if the lifespan is 15-20 years. Bad electrical wiring, however, necessitates a professional electrician to resolve the issue.
Diagnosing GFCI trips
In order to identify the source of a leakage current, you must first measure the leakage current. The leakage current clamp meter should be used for these measurements. The leakage current clamp meters are similar to clamp meters used for measuring load currents; however, leakage current clamp meters are much more accurate when measuring currents below five mA.
When testing single-phase circuits, clamp the neutral and phase conductors. The conductors of a three-phase circuit should be clamped around all three phases. Additionally, if a neutral is present, clamp it as well.
If a current flows to the ground, that will be the value measured. In order to measure the total leakage, the clamp should be placed around the ground conductor.
Identify which leg of the circuit has relatively more leakage current than the others by measuring its current. Ensure that the equipment works properly if one leg has a suspiciously high leakage current.
It is important to remember that surge suppression filters and capacitors on the power input of some electronic equipment can increase the overall circuit capacitance, causing leakage currents to increase. When the equipment is “on,” you can only determine the circuit wiring leakage. When the equipment is “off,” you can determine only the circuit wiring leakage.
The electrical equipment on all legs could operate properly, and the wiring is acceptable, but the cumulative leakage current caused by electronic equipment input filtering may be just enough to trip a GFCI randomly. Redistributing the load along the circuit legs or adding circuits may provide more capacity in this case.
When a GFCI outlet keeps tripping, it’s inconvenient, but it serves a safety purpose. The tripping of a GFCI outlet is generally good because it prevents you from being electrocuted. Even though it’s pretty rare, these devices can sometimes trip without reason. You first need to figure out why your GFCI is tripping, whether you conduct the tests yourself or hire an electrician.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What can you do to fix a GFCI that keeps tripping?
It is recommended that you replace the GFCI outlet with a new one. If the GFCI was initially the cause of the trip, you know the problem has been resolved. When the outlet is removed and the problem persists, the circuit breaker may be the culprit or another outlet on the line.
Why do GFCI outlets keep tripping?
An internal current transformer automatically shuts down a GFCI outlet if it detects a loss of more than four milliamps to prevent accidental electrocution. An appliance or outlet down circuit usually trips a GFCI when it’s plugged into an outlet.