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GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: Gilbert
Date: August 21, 2023 11:26AM
I walked out to our garage last night and noticed the fridge we keep there was not running. I then checked my workbench to see if there was power there (same circuit) and found it also was without power. There is one GFCI outlet on the circuit and found that it had been tripped. This happened once before several months ago before so I figured I would just reset it and all would be good. But when I pressed the reset button, it immediately tripped again. I tried a couple more times with the same result.

We haven't added anything new to the circuit. I then found the circuit's breaker in the sub-panel and reset it there. I again tried to reset the GFCI using the rest button and the reset button came out of the GFCI. Is this a sign that the GFCI outlet could be bad? We did have a lot of rain (from Hilary) but there aren't any external outlets on this circuit so I don't think the rain is the culprit.

I plan on replacing it tonight but curious if there is more I can do to troubleshoot or test the circuit.
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Re: GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: Spiff
Date: August 21, 2023 11:34AM
unplug anything that is in the outlet and see if the outlet still trips. If it doesn't, add back the electrical cords, one at a time. This will give you a better idea where the fault is. This happened to me in my garage with my refrigerator and other accoutrements. Mine turned out to be a bad lamp post that was on the same circuit.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/21/2023 11:35AM by Spiff.
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Re: GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: btfc
Date: August 21, 2023 11:38AM
“ unplug anything that is in the outlet and see if the outlet still trips “


I suspect the fridge, but yes, replace the GFCI outlet. Match its size to the circuit.
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Re: GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: gadje
Date: August 21, 2023 11:44AM
Is this plain GFCI or AFCI/GFCI combo? Those are easier to trip.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/21/2023 11:46AM by gadje.
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Re: GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: Gilbert
Date: August 21, 2023 11:58AM
Thanks for the info. I temporarily have the fridge and workbench items running off a different circuit in the garage without issue. I didn't think of trying to reset the GFCI after I had removed all the items but will do so tonight.

gadje,

I am not familiar with AFCI/GFCI combo. I just watched a short youtube video on them and I think I just have a GFCI but will look into it more. The house was built around 18 years ago if that makes a difference.
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Re: GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: MindMeld
Date: August 21, 2023 12:04PM
If you need to install a new GFCI receptacle one of these can be very useful. If you don't already have one, they'll quickly let you know if it's installed correctly.

[www.amazon.com]
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Re: GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: Gilbert
Date: August 21, 2023 12:43PM
I think I own a similar device but will confirm it also does GFCI testing. Thanks!

Quote
MindMeld
If you need to install a new GFCI receptacle one of these can be very useful. If you don't already have one, they'll quickly let you know if it's installed correctly.

[www.amazon.com]
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Re: GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 21, 2023 02:01PM
I have an old fridge in the garage that on rare occasions will trip the GFCI. First time it happened I replaced the GFCI outlet, but several years later it happened again.

In my case I'm pretty sure it's something in the fridge and the trip is happening for a legitimate reason.

In both cases when it tripped, it was after a long power outage and I suspect the ice build-up around the freezer completely melted creating a lot of internal moisture, and I think when time came for the automatic defrost cycle to kick in, this moisture / water contacted something that's only powered during defrost, and tripped the GFCI.

Once I knew it was the fridge instead of the outlet, my solution was that after long power outages to run the fridge on an extension cord to a non-GFCI outlet and then after several days when it's run through normal defrost cycles and moisture has drained or frozen, I switch it back to the GFCI outlet and all is back to normal until the next long power outage.
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Re: GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: August 21, 2023 04:42PM
I use that Sperry tester for open grounds and polarity testing, no GFCIs in da house.

I just ordered another one, it'll get here tomorrow.






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Re: GFCI Oulet - How to test/troubleshoot?
Posted by: OWC Jamie
Date: August 21, 2023 04:47PM
As a former electrician, I can tell you we NEVER installed a GFCI for a refrigerator. Why? Because the motor spikes can trip the GFCI as you are finding out as the motor ages and starts to get weak. Odds are the fridge will keep running a good long time but it is obviously leaking voltage when the motor starts up and therefore is kicking the GFCI.

Here's the quandary. GFCIs are NOT required to be on refrigerators if installed in a kitchen. But they ARE if they are located in a garage or unfinished basement.

So what I'd do is install a new outlet, single receptacle that nothing else plugs into, and plug the fridge onto it. Of course that'd be best if it were a dedicated circuit on it's own as we would do if it were in a new kitchen installation. But you probably can't do that so next best thing would be that single outlet connected to the LINE side of that GFCI outlet.

This article explains it extremely well.
[portablepowerguides.com]



Good Luck!
Jamie Dresser
Other World Computing
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