Another electrical outlet Q.

Last night I had the small, window A/C on in the bedroom. It worked fine. I turned it off when I went to bed.
It’s downstream from a GFI that controls the washer. I didn’t use the washer yesterday. This morning, when Hubby got home from work, he turned the A/C on and nothing.
I went down to check the breaker, it was fine, but the GFI was tripped. I tried to reset it, but it tripped again. Neither appliance was on. I don’t believe anything else is on that circuit, but nothing but the TV was turned on at the time, anyway.

I did notice that the GFI box was loose. It’s attached to an open stud in the basement.

I did use the dryer, but that’s on it’s own circuit. Could the vibration from the washer and/or dryer have shaken something loose in the GFI? Or are you just screwed?

two possibilities:

  1. there is a ground fault in that circuit and the GFCI is doing its job, or
  2. the GFCI is overly sensitive and is tripping based on a transient load.

I have noticed at work that we have one GFCI outlet in the break room which likes to trip a lot, and it is feeding something with a compressor in it (thus an electric motor.) It’s possible that the start-up current of the motor is fritzing the GFCI out.

but, as anything electrical tends to make me nervous, it might not be a bad idea to have an electrician look at it.

Has is rained recently? Damp wiring can trip a GFCI.

No rain to speak of, we’re finally having some nice weather.

This GFI tripped a couple times last winter. The wiring is all high in the basement wall, running up to the bedroom.

jz78817That’s my fear. I can’t imagine what it could be.

I’ll unplug the washer and A/C and see it the GFI will stick. If it won’t, we’ll truy changing the outlet.

GFI units do fail. with the breaker off push the reset button on the GFI, does it stay in, if not the GFI is likely faulty. then unplug all the items plugged in that circuit (not just have them turned off) and reset the GFI unit, if it trips off it likely indicates a problem with the unit or the wiring/receptacles downstream.

was the box the GFI in loose and the GFI tight in the box? that could be of little consequence. if the GFI was loose in the box, then turn that breaker off, check to see there is no voltage there, loosen the GFI from the box and see that the wires are tight, replace GFI in the box.

large motor units like a washer, AC, fridge or freezer don’t have to be in a GFI even in a basement, kitchen or garage. they will cause a GFI to trip and will shorten its lifetime. GFI are needed for where tools and lamps and appliances are plugged in and out. if you had an opportunity you could separate receptacles used only for washer, AC, fridge or freezer from those that could be used for tools and lamps and appliances, them label them as not GFI.

It has to be a GFI because it’s within the minimum distance from a water source. I’ll do as you suggest.

GFCI are outlets are cheep and I would just buy a new one and replace that one.

The problem goes away for $20.
The problem still occurs and you call in an electrician.

HA! Voila! Eureka! I went down and looked at where to downstream wiring went. I didn’t realize my old, cranky treadmill that I got free was plugged into a downstream outlet. I unplugged it and we’re back in business.

The treadmill now goes to the bottom of the driveway with a “Free” sign on it.



Weird. That’s not the first time I’ve heard of a treadmill causing nuisance GFI trips. I can’t imagine why the makers of treadmills would put out a product that’s incompatible with GFIs, considering how many treadmills are probably being used in basements.

in my limited experience, it seems that most of the “nuisance” GFCI trips I’ve encountered have been when the connected equipment has a single-phase induction motor. I assume that would encompass things like refrigerator compressors, treadmills, and the like.