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Thread: GFCI puzzle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Portland OR

    Default GFCI puzzle

    If I had more time, I could probably figure this out, but I have a long report to finish, and I hope that this puzzle will prove interesting for you guys. The house I looked at today had 2 GFCIs back to back through an interior wall, one in the kitchen, and the other in the bathroom.
    When I test the bath GFCI with my tester, nothing happens. When I test it with the button on the GFCI, it trips, but it still lights up the tester.
    When I test the kitchen GFCI with the tester, the one in the bathroom trips audibly, but still lights up the tester. When I test the kitchen GFCI with the button on the GFCI, it shuts off.
    Is this miswiring, or a defective GFCI? I am writing it up to have them both replaced, and the problem can be discovered at that time, but I won't know what caused it.
    Any ideas?

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  2. #2
    Richard Moore's Avatar
    Richard Moore Guest

    Default Re: GFCI puzzle

    The GFCI in the bathroom is hooked up with the line/load connections reversed. 99.99% certain

    "When I test it with the button on the GFCI, it trips, but it still lights up the tester." That is the tell-tale. Everything you describe would be the result of that.

    You probably don't actually need new GFCI's, as it sounds like they are both still functional. Just re-wiring the bathroom GFCI should fix it. And, of course, the kitchen GFCI is actually redundant in this case, but no harm at all leaving it there. Just tell the client that a fault in the kitchen might trip the kitchen GFCI, the bathroom GFCI, or both.

    FYI...The newer GFCIs won't reset with the line/load reversed. Also, on a new house or remodel, the kitchen shouldn't be on the same circuit as, or fed from, the bathroom, but I'd normally let it go on an older home (depending on circumstances).

    Last edited by Richard Moore; 04-24-2008 at 11:21 PM.

  3. #3
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: GFCI puzzle


    "A GFCI can be wired to protect itself (single-location) or to protect itself and all devices "down-stream" to the end of the circuit (multiple-location). It can't protect devices between itself and the main service panel. Single-location wiring is preferable, since multiple devices may make a GFCI overly sensitive to false trippings. Consult an electrician for help with multiple-location wiring."

    Can't Reset a GFCI Outlet?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Hudson, WI

    Default Re: GFCI puzzle

    Richard nailed it.

    I found this same condition in my daughter's place a few years ago.
    Being it was family, I reversed the line and load connections and everything was fine.

  5. #5
    Randy Clayton's Avatar
    Randy Clayton Guest

    Default Re: GFCI puzzle

    Those guys said it the gfci outlets are probably ok just the incoming and out going lines are reversed.


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