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New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Pam
Date: December 19, 2016 10:58AM
What do you know, GFCI outlets now have LED indicators. Green when on, red during testing, and flashing red when failing. I've had two fail. The first time the wall around the outlet was getting very warm, but no trip. Darn thing was shorting and I was probably close to a fire. That got me checking the outlet and wall regularly. Today the outlet was warm, wall was cool. Caught it earlier. Not putting all of my trust in these LED lights though.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: davester
Date: December 19, 2016 12:18PM
This seems like craziness. GFCIs are supposed to protect us, not cause fires.



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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/19/2016 12:19PM by davester.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: PeterW
Date: December 19, 2016 12:23PM
You may need to open up that wall and see what's going on. Hard to believe two GFCIs went bad.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: mikebw
Date: December 19, 2016 12:49PM
GFCI does not protect against shorts. You need AFCI for that.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: December 19, 2016 12:51PM
From the washing machine drain thread I got the impression you lived in an older home. If there are GFCI outlets, that would mean the either you, or the previous owner put them in. It is a very bad sign if the outlets are warm without anything on that circuit drawing a fairly heavy load (space heater, hair dryer, toaster, microwave, refrigerator).



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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: S. Pupp
Date: December 19, 2016 12:58PM
Any chance of aluminum household wiring? There could be problems using devices such as GFCI or outlets that were not designed to accept such wiring.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: billb
Date: December 19, 2016 01:05PM
I had three, all installed at the same time, all had the same loose connections inside the device, which in some instances can cause heat, like application of a load .
They started tripping any time they were disturbed. Like something as usually innocuous as trying to plug something in and using it.
Luckily they were all outside and not too often used.



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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Racer X
Date: December 19, 2016 01:28PM
One thing I have found out about household plugs, sockets and switches, is that the "consumer" grade ones feel like crap. The plugs and sockets don't go together smoothly, and the switches don't have a good "feel" as you flip them on and off. I usually go for commercial grade. Also, lots of "consumer" grade stuff is based on 16 gauge wiring. They weigh almost nothing. You pick up a commercial grade one, and they have some heft to them.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Pam
Date: December 19, 2016 01:51PM
My house was built in 1988. The problem isn't the house, or the wiring. I replaced the first one after 15 years. This one lasted 13 years. When I replaced it the first time I heard from numerous people that they don't last forever and can fail. Although both said "commercial" on the packaging, it's what's sold at Lowe's etc and purchased by consumers and electricians alike. Both felt solid, not chintzy.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: December 19, 2016 02:59PM
Quote
mikebw
GFCI does not protect against shorts. You need AFCI for that.

Isn't the breaker the protection against shorts?
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: btfc
Date: December 19, 2016 03:10PM
Depending on how your outlets are wired, you might have additional downstream outlets that utilize the GFCI circuitry of that GFCI outlet. Any high draw items on the same circuit?
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: billb
Date: December 19, 2016 03:49PM
AFCI protects by detecting arcing not shorts.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Pam
Date: December 19, 2016 03:50PM
Quote
btfc
Depending on how your outlets are wired, you might have additional downstream outlets that utilize the GFCI circuitry of that GFCI outlet. Any high draw items on the same circuit?

Heh. The brilliant electrician that wired my house decided that it was a good idea to put the outlets in the garage, master bedroom, master bath, and outside on deck all on the same circuit. The bath is the only one that is GFCI. I do have a small vornado heater running in the garage. The only thing I plugged into the outlet this morning was a makeup mirror. Usually if I forget about the heater and try to run a hair dryer or iron the circuit pops.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: btfc
Date: December 19, 2016 06:28PM
What are the circuit breaker and the GFCI outlet rated to? On most of those heaters, high is 1500 watts (about 12 1/2 amps). Add a few lights and you are maxing out a 15A rating, add a few more and you're pushing 20A.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Pam
Date: December 19, 2016 06:53PM
Quote
btfc
What are the circuit breaker and the GFCI outlet rated to? On most of those heaters, high is 1500 watts (about 12 1/2 amps). Add a few lights and you are maxing out a 15A rating, add a few more and you're pushing 20A.

Oh I know with the heater on high that I am close to max amps. That's why the breaker trips if I forget and run something with a decent draw. I would not expect the fan to damage a GFCI in the loop. But maybe that's what happened over time. Which sucks.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Racer X
Date: December 19, 2016 08:38PM
If the GFCI is similar to a regular breaker, each time it trips, it is slightly easier to trip the next time. Eventually, a sneeze and 1 watt over rating, and it will trip. Finally, trips below its rating.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Pam
Date: December 19, 2016 08:56PM
Quote
Racer X
If the GFCI is similar to a regular breaker, each time it trips, it is slightly easier to trip the next time. Eventually, a sneeze and 1 watt over rating, and it will trip. Finally, trips below its rating.

Except the GFCI wasn't tripping. Just heating up.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Racer X
Date: December 19, 2016 09:23PM
Ah.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: mikebw
Date: December 20, 2016 09:00AM
Quote
Lux Interior
Quote
mikebw
GFCI does not protect against shorts. You need AFCI for that.

Isn't the breaker the protection against shorts?

A breaker will cut power if too much current is being drawn, which will happen in the case of a short circuit, but can also happen if no short is present. And, as Bill points out, AFCI is actually protection for arcing which isn't necessarily the same as shorting. You can get GFCI and AFCI protection in the same breaker instead of adding to the circuit later.
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: Pam
Date: December 20, 2016 10:01AM
Quote
mikebw
Quote
Lux Interior
Quote
mikebw
GFCI does not protect against shorts. You need AFCI for that.

Isn't the breaker the protection against shorts?

A breaker will cut power if too much current is being drawn, which will happen in the case of a short circuit, but can also happen if no short is present. And, as Bill points out, AFCI is actually protection for arcing which isn't necessarily the same as shorting. You can get GFCI and AFCI protection in the same breaker instead of adding to the circuit later.

I think what I need to do is get an electrician out and get another circuit going in the garage. Maybe two. One that will allow me to run a heater in the garage, and one for the future small freezer I'd like to put in the garage. The AFCI would be good to have on the one for the heater. While radiant heaters are ok, I really prefer the vornado fan type. Those are the ones that can cause problems in a dustier environment. Even though the dog doesn't hang out in the garage, the cats have their litter box out there, all I see is dog hair. In the meantime, I'm going to keep the heater on low (7500w).
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Re: New GFCI outlet
Posted by: btfc
Date: December 20, 2016 12:28PM
"I think what I need to do is get an electrician out and get another circuit going in the garage. Maybe two. One that will allow me to run a heater in the garage, and one for the future small freezer I'd like to put in the garage. "

Yes, that's what I'd do too.
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