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  1. #1
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    Default Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    So....I'm doing an inspection not too long ago and ran across this kitchen GFCI with a sticky-tricky neutral. Shot a little video...check it out and you electrician-types (check your shorts! ) give me your best analysis! And no..... 'uh...sumthin's stickin!' doesn't qualify as an answer....Ted! (Did I actually say Ted's name out loud or did I just think it!?)

    Ready...set...YouTube - GFCI with tricky neutral leg

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    Glenn R. Curtis CMI
    La$ Vega$, Nevada
    Inspecting Nevada since 1982

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Humm... time to read up on my camera's video features.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Contacts in relay of GFCI sticking.
    Replace GFCI

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    A good argument for testing with a tester, not with the GFCI button.

    Fritz,

    Trying to figure out how you got from Point A (what was shown in that video) and Point B (your statement above).

    The GFCI is defective and that would have shown up either way.

    The proper way to test GFCI protected receptacles is to check the receptacles with a good circuit tester (those three light night lights do not fall under "a good circuit tester") to verify proper and correct wiring of the receptacles, push the Test button on the GFCI, then recheck the receptacles to make sure they all are now off (which is the only way to know that it was indeed properly GFCI protected).

    Yes, you "can" test the GFCI protection with a GFCI tester from EACH receptacle, but the test is the same: plug in the tester to make sure the receptacle is wired correctly, push the Test button (this time on the GFCI tester) to make sure power shuts off, go to the GFCI device and Reset the GFCI device.

    Thus, I am not following how you got to your Point B above???

    The person doing the test in the video did the same thing - tested the receptacles first and found a problem, tested the GFCI and then reset it, and the problem went away, which means the GFCI is defective.

    I think all HIs use the same procedure for testing GFCI: test receptacles, trip GFCI, test receptacles, reset GFCI, and most probably do as I did and re-test the receptacles one last time after resetting the GFCI to make sure they are all back on.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Richard Abrams's Avatar
    Richard Abrams Guest

    Cool Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Since none of the recps are wired correctly I think you have a reversed neutral in some junction box somewhere. Starting at the closet recp to panel remove recp and check wires and then continue. May require total rewire.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Abrams View Post
    Since none of the recps are wired correctly I think you have a reversed neutral in some junction box somewhere. Starting at the closet recp to panel remove recp and check wires and then continue. May require total rewire.
    Why do you say that?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  7. #7
    Richard Abrams's Avatar
    Richard Abrams Guest

    Cool Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    When I watched the video all of the recps he tested showed open neutral or reversed ground buttons lite up on the tester.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    Jerry, how would you know it is defective without the tester, whatever quality? When you push the test button, it trips, just like a non-defective GFCI.
    By doing what I said.

    Did you read what I said on how to test the GFCI protected receptacles?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    if all you are going by is the test button, everything looks OK.

    *IF* all you are doing is pushing the test button then you are not checking the GFCI protected receptacles properly to start with.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    I would report: "GFCI receptacle(s) in kitchen not functioning properly/intermittent deficiency. Recommend review GFCI system(s) and repair as needed by licensed electrical contractor." - DONE


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Abrams View Post
    When I watched the video all of the recps he tested showed open neutral or reversed ground buttons lite up on the tester.
    Not all testers are the same. With my Ideal plug-in the two outside lights mean correct wiring. On the OP's tester the two right lights mean correct.

    This is a bad GFI. Plain and simple.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Barnicle View Post
    I would report: "GFCI receptacle(s) in kitchen not functioning properly/intermittent deficiency. Recommend review GFCI system(s) and repair as needed by licensed electrical contractor." - DONE
    I don't know about the rest of my brother H.I.'s, but it always grinds-my-bacon when I make a report call-out similar to what Matthew stated above, and the electrician shows up and checks/tests the GFCI-protected outlet(s) and then says something about the 'stupid-inspector' and 'everything is OK...' and the client or homeowner calls me back to gripe....and then I pull out my little video (which they have NOT seen yet, because it's a part of my 'Work File' which my clients DO NOT see, just because of situations like this one) and then it's my turn to practice the 'Last-Man-In' scenario on the electrician who just 'dissed' me! Whew!

    Doing 250-350 digital photos and 20-40 video's really adds substantial time to each inspection...but in this day-and-age of 'everything-electronics' I figure it's a cheap 'Expert-Witness' that I invest in every day...a little at a time. Just like my Martial Arts. A little 'practice' every day...just-in-case!

    If any of youse' guys are coming to the COA-'Inspector Stimulus Conference' at the end of September, I'll be a presenter on Home Inspector Risk-Management, Blackbelt Style! I'd be proud to have any of youse' guys stop in and say Hi, and then sit-down and rest a spell while I do 'my-thing'! Hopefully it will be enjoyable for all and we'll leave a little better for the experience.

    Glenn R. Curtis CMI
    La$ Vega$, Nevada
    Inspecting Nevada since 1982

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn Curtis View Post
    I don't know about the rest of my brother H.I.'s, but it always grinds-my-bacon when I make a report call-out similar to what Matthew stated above, and the electrician shows up and checks/tests the GFCI-protected outlet(s) and then says something about the 'stupid-inspector' and 'everything is OK...' and the client or homeowner calls me back to gripe....
    So how could this happen in this case? A case where the problem is consistent and repeatable?

    I doubt you'd get any flak about this one.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Tricky little GFCI-neutral leg?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    So how could this happen in this case? A case where the problem is consistent and repeatable?

    I doubt you'd get any flak about this one.

    Peter,

    It is not "consistent and repeatable".

    It apparently started off wrong, tested and reset correctly, then after trying it a few more times it reset wrong again.

    I used to have the same thing happen and the GFCI would reset "reverse polarity" every so often, not all the time. I had manufacturer's tell me that was impossible, until I met one at a seminar one day and showed him.

    I have had similar things happen and the electrician (or other tradesperson) would come in, test it, reset it, and it would work properly ... THAT time ... but they would not sit there and play with it to see if it always worked properly. On occasion, new homes usually, I would go back with my client, the builder, and the electrician and play with it a few times and ... WHOA! LOOKEE THERE! It just did what I said it was doing.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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