Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
Posted: 7/11/2010 3:33:05 PM EDT
It would seem that all of the GFCI outlets in my house that are labeled "GFCI" but which do not have a reset button built into the outlet are out. I've verified that there is no breaker tripped in the main circuit box for the house. I've also confirmed with an ohmmeter that there is no circuit between the neutral and the ground in the affected outlet (read elsewhere that this was a good indication that there was a GFCI outage somewhere down the line.

The problem is that I can't find whichever GFCI is tripped. Is there anything I can do before sucking it up and saying I'll pull everything I have away from every wall in the house looking for the tripped GFCI? Would a professional have anything more sophisticated that they could try to find the outlet? I know that people in the sprinkler business follow buried lines by putting a signal on them and following the signal. Is an electrician likely able to do something similar?

Link Posted: 7/11/2010 3:52:10 PM EDT
This Circuit Breaker Detective works something like that...

I have one of them, but have not yet used it, and don't know whether it will be effective through (or in locating) a GFI...





Link Posted: 7/11/2010 3:53:22 PM EDT
sucks I know. Just replaced a bad GFCI

Don't pull everything away from the walls. Just check the usual locations. Countertops near water, bathroom, kitchen, and inside garage wall if it's within 6 feet of the sink.
Link Posted: 7/11/2010 4:35:41 PM EDT
Also, check outside outlets, shed and garage
Link Posted: 7/11/2010 8:21:22 PM EDT
I had a similar problem, The outlet on my front porch was dead. After a BUNCH of looking it turned out that the GFCI in my garage that is way more than six feet from any water source was tripped. My guess is that some rain water made it's way into the open receptacle cover on the porch when my wife had Christmas lights plugged into it. It was odd.
Link Posted: 7/11/2010 8:27:14 PM EDT
I lost over 150# of elk meat, 30# of halibut, 60# of wild hog, plus a bunch more store bought food when a GFCI tripped in my garage (no water supply at all) and the outlet the freezer was plugged into went dead.

I can see using a GFCI near a sink, but to wire an entire circuit to one of the things is crazy.
Link Posted: 7/12/2010 6:48:54 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Warhawk:
I lost over 150# of elk meat, 30# of halibut, 60# of wild hog, plus a bunch more store bought food when a GFCI tripped in my garage (no water supply at all) and the outlet the freezer was plugged into went dead.

I can see using a GFCI near a sink, but to wire an entire circuit to one of the things is crazy.


And that is why I put in a seperate circuit for my garage freezer.

Not sure why they did it, but it controls all my bathrooms from that one socket out in the garage. Crazy.

The wife's hair dryer ,or some night light would trip it and take out power for both bathrooms. I would have to run out to the garage to fix it. And of course I buried it behind some stuff so it is a pain to get to.

Link Posted: 7/12/2010 9:00:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/12/2010 9:01:07 AM EDT by jjc155]
Originally Posted By pliftkl:
It would seem that all of the GFCI outlets in my house that are labeled "GFCI" but which do not have a reset button built into the outlet are out. I've verified that there is no breaker tripped in the main circuit box for the house. I've also confirmed with an ohmmeter that there is no circuit between the neutral and the ground in the affected outlet (read elsewhere that this was a good indication that there was a GFCI outage somewhere down the line.

The problem is that I can't find whichever GFCI is tripped. Is there anything I can do before sucking it up and saying I'll pull everything I have away from every wall in the house looking for the tripped GFCI? Would a professional have anything more sophisticated that they could try to find the outlet? I know that people in the sprinkler business follow buried lines by putting a signal on them and following the signal. Is an electrician likely able to do something similar?



Look for three things.

1) GFCI BREAKERS in the breaker box. That is how I wired my basement. Looks like a regular breaker but will have a button on it also. Hard to miss.

2) GFCI outlets that control the "downstream" outlets. IE: one GFCI at the begining of a run will protect every outlet in the run, with out the others being actual GFCI outlets (thats why they have the stickers on them) There should only be one actual GFCI outlet per circuit. If there are more than one they compete with each other and will keep tripping for no reason.

3) See if you have any outdoor outlets and check those. They may or maynot be an actual GFCI but they will be GFCI protected. before I finishined and re-wired my basement, I couldnt figure out why my computer (which was the only thing pluged into the only outlet in the basement) would keep going off. I eventually traced the circuit and found that the GFCI in the garage keep tripping due to the oultet on my front porch getting alittle water in it when it rained. The basement outlet and the porch were protected by the GFCI in the garage and thus the GFCI tripped when porch outlet got wet from rain. Sealed up the backside of the brick to outlet box joint on the porch outlet and no more problems.

lastly I have had a GFCI go bad for unk reasons and the reset button would not reset it and it didnt looked like it was tripped.

Hope this helps
J-

edit: if you have GFCI breakers I have found that about 20% of them are just bad out of the box for some reason.



Link Posted: 7/12/2010 11:27:15 AM EDT
Originally Posted By jjc155:
Originally Posted By pliftkl:
It would seem that all of the GFCI outlets in my house that are labeled "GFCI" but which do not have a reset button built into the outlet are out. I've verified that there is no breaker tripped in the main circuit box for the house. I've also confirmed with an ohmmeter that there is no circuit between the neutral and the ground in the affected outlet (read elsewhere that this was a good indication that there was a GFCI outage somewhere down the line.

The problem is that I can't find whichever GFCI is tripped. Is there anything I can do before sucking it up and saying I'll pull everything I have away from every wall in the house looking for the tripped GFCI? Would a professional have anything more sophisticated that they could try to find the outlet? I know that people in the sprinkler business follow buried lines by putting a signal on them and following the signal. Is an electrician likely able to do something similar?



Look for three things.

1) GFCI BREAKERS in the breaker box. That is how I wired my basement. Looks like a regular breaker but will have a button on it also. Hard to miss.


Definitely don't have breakers in the box. There are two circuit breakers that are labeled as GFI, but neither has a button, not is either one tripped.

2) GFCI outlets that control the "downstream" outlets. IE: one GFCI at the begining of a run will protect every outlet in the run, with out the others being actual GFCI outlets (thats why they have the stickers on them) There should only be one actual GFCI outlet per circuit. If there are more than one they compete with each other and will keep tripping for no reason.


This is what I suspect is going on, I just can't find the true GFCI outlet that is tripped.

3) See if you have any outdoor outlets and check those. They may or maynot be an actual GFCI but they will be GFCI protected. before I finishined and re-wired my basement, I couldnt figure out why my computer (which was the only thing pluged into the only outlet in the basement) would keep going off. I eventually traced the circuit and found that the GFCI in the garage keep tripping due to the oultet on my front porch getting alittle water in it when it rained. The basement outlet and the porch were protected by the GFCI in the garage and thus the GFCI tripped when porch outlet got wet from rain. Sealed up the backside of the brick to outlet box joint on the porch outlet and no more problems.


You might be onto something here. The power problems started on a day that my wife decided to use a high pressure hose to wash parts of the exterior of the house. It's quite possible that she got some water in an outdoor outlet.

Now if I can just find the actual GFCI that tripped...

Link Posted: 7/12/2010 11:54:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/12/2010 11:55:47 AM EDT by jjc155]
Originally Posted By pliftkl:
Originally Posted By jjc155:
Originally Posted By pliftkl:
It would seem that all of the GFCI outlets in my house that are labeled "GFCI" but which do not have a reset button built into the outlet are out. I've verified that there is no breaker tripped in the main circuit box for the house. I've also confirmed with an ohmmeter that there is no circuit between the neutral and the ground in the affected outlet (read elsewhere that this was a good indication that there was a GFCI outage somewhere down the line.

The problem is that I can't find whichever GFCI is tripped. Is there anything I can do before sucking it up and saying I'll pull everything I have away from every wall in the house looking for the tripped GFCI? Would a professional have anything more sophisticated that they could try to find the outlet? I know that people in the sprinkler business follow buried lines by putting a signal on them and following the signal. Is an electrician likely able to do something similar?



Look for three things.

1) GFCI BREAKERS in the breaker box. That is how I wired my basement. Looks like a regular breaker but will have a button on it also. Hard to miss.


Definitely don't have breakers in the box. There are two circuit breakers that are labeled as GFI, but neither has a button, not is either one tripped.

2) GFCI outlets that control the "downstream" outlets. IE: one GFCI at the begining of a run will protect every outlet in the run, with out the others being actual GFCI outlets (thats why they have the stickers on them) There should only be one actual GFCI outlet per circuit. If there are more than one they compete with each other and will keep tripping for no reason.


This is what I suspect is going on, I just can't find the true GFCI outlet that is tripped.

3) See if you have any outdoor outlets and check those. They may or maynot be an actual GFCI but they will be GFCI protected. before I finishined and re-wired my basement, I couldnt figure out why my computer (which was the only thing pluged into the only outlet in the basement) would keep going off. I eventually traced the circuit and found that the GFCI in the garage keep tripping due to the oultet on my front porch getting alittle water in it when it rained. The basement outlet and the porch were protected by the GFCI in the garage and thus the GFCI tripped when porch outlet got wet from rain. Sealed up the backside of the brick to outlet box joint on the porch outlet and no more problems.


You might be onto something here. The power problems started on a day that my wife decided to use a high pressure hose to wash parts of the exterior of the house. It's quite possible that she got some water in an outdoor outlet.

Now if I can just find the actual GFCI that tripped...



well there shouldnt be any "hidden" ones. Check bathrooms, basement/crawl space, garage, outside and kitchen. Those are the places that require them. Take a radio or small lamb around and start plugging in to outlets, may be a faulty one that does not look to be tripped but is just bad.

How many actual outlets are out and where are they at? Sometimes that helps track it down as they would be on the same circuit as the GFCI outlet.

Also in the kitchen check under the sink (disposal) and in cabinets (some times they are "hidden" there for a over range microwave etc.

J-

Link Posted: 7/12/2010 12:21:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Warhawk:
I lost over 150# of elk meat, 30# of halibut, 60# of wild hog, plus a bunch more store bought food when a GFCI tripped in my garage (no water supply at all) and the outlet the freezer was plugged into went dead.

I can see using a GFCI near a sink, but to wire an entire circuit to one of the things is crazy.


Recepticals located along garage walls are required to be GFCI protected unless they are for a dedicated appliances like a freezer, water softener, etc.

Link Posted: 7/12/2010 4:24:23 PM EDT
Maybe breaker in panel box has gone bad always start at the source first
Link Posted: 7/13/2010 2:22:02 PM EDT
OP, are the outlets in the kitchen or bathroom that do not work? Or do no outlets in the house work at all?
If its in a Kitchen check behind the fridge, where microwave range hoods are plugged in (provided they are not hard wired) , and the dishwasher.
For the dishwasher you may be able to go the basement and find the access hole for the water lines and see if there is a "hidden" outlet there.
Same thing for a bathroom on the main floor if you have a jacuzzi tub.

Also check around the the floor joists in the basement. My house has outlets in random spots in the basement where the previous owner must have needed a plug in for a workbench or freezer.
Good luck OP!
Link Posted: 7/13/2010 4:06:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By LoneWolf_05:
OP, are the outlets in the kitchen or bathroom that do not work? Or do no outlets in the house work at all?


The outlets in the kitchen are GFCI outlets that have the breaker built into the outlet, and they are all working. In addition to these, I've got a series of outlets that are labeled GFCI (both bathrooms, one garage, plus two outdoor). None of these work.

If its in a Kitchen check behind the fridge, where microwave range hoods are plugged in (provided they are not hard wired) , and the dishwasher.
For the dishwasher you may be able to go the basement and find the access hole for the water lines and see if there is a "hidden" outlet there.
Same thing for a bathroom on the main floor if you have a jacuzzi tub.


I'm guessing at this point the most likely place is the garage, by process of elimination. Unfortunately, the place in my garage that I can't see is the part that sits behind my wall of ammo. Lots of heavy cases that I need to pull off a bookcase to pull the bookcase out and look behind it...

Also check around the the floor joists in the basement. My house has outlets in random spots in the basement where the previous owner must have needed a plug in for a workbench or freezer.
Good luck OP!


I'm in Central Texas, but from the midwest. I miss basements. Don't have one here. :(
Link Posted: 7/13/2010 6:59:53 PM EDT
95% chance it is in the garage
Link Posted: 7/25/2010 1:33:51 PM EDT
I have been living in my current house for 2.5 years and just figured out where a GFCI was about 30 mins ago. I have a outside stereo plugged in the backyard for bbqs, hanging out, etc. It blows every once in a while. I went out to the garage and the plugs wouldnt work out there. I pressed the GFCI button and the plugs in the garage started working and the backyard stereo came on. Its 75 feet away. Ridiculous.
Link Posted: 7/25/2010 3:11:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By targetworks:
This Circuit Breaker Detective works something like that...

I have one of them, but have not yet used it, and don't know whether it will be effective through (or in locating) a GFI...







That type only works on powered circuits.

No power, no signal from the plug in unit to trace.

There are more expensive units that use a battery to put a signal on the wire if they do not detect power.

Link Posted: 7/25/2010 7:15:51 PM EDT
Originally Posted By B2K_Ranch:
I have been living in my current house for 2.5 years and just figured out where a GFCI was about 30 mins ago. I have a outside stereo plugged in the backyard for bbqs, hanging out, etc. It blows every once in a while. I went out to the garage and the plugs wouldnt work out there. I pressed the GFCI button and the plugs in the garage started working and the backyard stereo came on. Its 75 feet away. Ridiculous.


Why is that ridiculous?
Link Posted: 7/26/2010 8:10:51 AM EDT
Originally Posted By B2K_Ranch:
I have been living in my current house for 2.5 years and just figured out where a GFCI was about 30 mins ago. I have a outside stereo plugged in the backyard for bbqs, hanging out, etc. It blows every once in a while. I went out to the garage and the plugs wouldnt work out there. I pressed the GFCI button and the plugs in the garage started working and the backyard stereo came on. Its 75 feet away. Ridiculous.


GFCI receptacles originally cost a lot more than the ~$10 we pay now.

The NEC allowed a single GFCI t be used for outdoor receptacles and bathroom receptacles to save $$.

Depending on the age of your house it may have been built under those rules.

GFCI receptacles are cheap enough now it is probably worth switching the wiring and replacing the standard receptacles wit GFCI receptacles at each location.

Move the wire on the 'LOAD' screws to the "LINE" screws, then replace the next receptacle with a GFCI with the incoming & outgoing wires hooked to the "LINE" screws.

Repeat for each receptacle in the circuit.

It is easier to reset the GFCI that trips if it is the one you are plugged into, and it will not affect the other devices on the circuit since you would no longer be using the "LOAD" terminals for downstream protection.



Link Posted: 7/26/2010 11:38:31 AM EDT
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Originally Posted By targetworks:
This Circuit Breaker Detective works something like that...

I have one of them, but have not yet used it, and don't know whether it will be effective through (or in locating) a GFI...







That type only works on powered circuits.

No power, no signal from the plug in unit to trace.

There are more expensive units that use a battery to put a signal on the wire if they do not detect power.



Do you know what a powered device like that would be called? I'm not even sure where to start googling.
Link Posted: 7/26/2010 11:55:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/26/2010 11:56:56 AM EDT
Low voltage guys use a tone generator and probe to find specific wires in bundles. You may be able to use something like that to find where your wires go?


CHRIS
Link Posted: 7/26/2010 2:11:31 PM EDT
Found mine inside a cabinet in the garage.
Link Posted: 7/27/2010 5:06:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By pliftkl:
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Originally Posted By targetworks:
This Circuit Breaker Detective works something like that...

I have one of them, but have not yet used it, and don't know whether it will be effective through (or in locating) a GFI...







That type only works on powered circuits.

No power, no signal from the plug in unit to trace.

There are more expensive units that use a battery to put a signal on the wire if they do not detect power.



Do you know what a powered device like that would be called? I'm not even sure where to start googling.


Try 'Circuit chaser'
Link Posted: 7/29/2010 5:39:33 PM EDT
Update: Found it.

It was in the garage, behind a large stack of ammo in some built in shelves. It's a little bit surprising, because there is another outlet on that wall that is no GFCI, so I had guessed that the interior walls of the garage were not wired for GFCI. Two of the three outlets in the garage were GFCI, but they weren't even adjacent.
Link Posted: 7/29/2010 6:19:01 PM EDT
I'm glad you found it

Chasing it down is very frustrating.
Link Posted: 7/29/2010 6:24:49 PM EDT
Congrats! Losing an outlet behind a pile of ammo isn't that bad of a thing.


CHRIS
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 5:09:51 PM EDT
Originally Posted By electrojk:
Originally Posted By B2K_Ranch:
I have been living in my current house for 2.5 years and just figured out where a GFCI was about 30 mins ago. I have a outside stereo plugged in the backyard for bbqs, hanging out, etc. It blows every once in a while. I went out to the garage and the plugs wouldnt work out there. I pressed the GFCI button and the plugs in the garage started working and the backyard stereo came on. Its 75 feet away. Ridiculous.


Why is that ridiculous?


Little far away.Seems like they would run a dedicated GFI line for outside plugs and then another for the garage, kitchen, etc
Top Top