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GFI outlet keeps tripping

Posted: 27 Jun 2013 5:34 PM By: krazykb78 Replies: 3

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  • GFI outlet keeps tripping

    I have a gfi outlet in my garage that keeps tripping , it will reset and last a day roughly. What I know that is on this gfi is 3 outside outlets, and 1 outlet in basement. Nothing is plugged into any of these things when it trips. I did have a freezer plugged into the one downstairs , and it ran fine for about a week before I noticed it was tripped. The house is about 4.5 years old. Does my gfi outlet need replaced ?

  • Re: GFI outlet keeps tripping

    My experience leads me first to suspect that your GFI receptacle, being only 4.5 years old, is probably not the culprit, but is rather only doing its job of tripping if it detects a leak of 0.005 Amps ( five milliamps ) from the total current that goes from the GFI to the loads and back to the GFI. 

    My first suspicion is that the wiring inside the appliance, the freezer, has the leakage, but without putting a sensitive meter on the circuit, I can't say for sure. 

    To trouble shoot, use a good extension cord to plug the freezer in elsewhere, if possible in another GFI.  If your tripping GFI stops tripping, it is a problem in the appliance.

    The next thing I would investigate is whether the weatherproof covers on the outside outlets are keeping the receptacles under them completely dry.

    Good troubleshooting.

  • Re: GFI outlet keeps tripping

    I have found over the years when the GFCI outlet is tripping and there is nothing plugged into it there is normally a loose wire connection at the breaker. If you have installed a breaker before and are comfortable working in the electrical panel (if this beyond your ability seek a professional electrician) find the circuit breaker that serves the outlet in  question and shut the power off to the breaker. With a voltage tester, test the common wire(black or red) attached to the breaker to make sure the power is off. tighten the wire connection on the breaker. Find the the neutral wire(white) on the bus bar that is for this circuit and make sure it is tight the find the ground and tighten it down. put the panel cover back on turn the breaker back on and you should be trouble free. Let us know after a few months have gone by if this worked for you.

  • Re: GFI outlet keeps tripping

    Welcome to the Forum, Ray.

    I have found over the years when the GFCI outlet is tripping and there is nothing plugged into it there is normally a loose wire connection at the breaker.

    Electrical events that happen on the LINE side of a GFCI device simply can't be detected by the GFCI device.  While there, in fact, may be a loose connection at one of the terminals at the overcurrent protection (the Opening Post, OP, doesn't say whether it is fuse or circuit breaker), the GFCI sensor won't experience this as an imbalance of the current between what is going to the LOAD compared to what is returning from the LOAD. 

    Two things are possible.  There is a leak of LOAD current exceeding the trip threshold of the GFCI ( 5 milliamps ) or the GFCI is actually malfunctioning all by itself.  To be clear, the LOAD current is that current that leaves the GFCI and returns through the GFCI.

    It is extremely rare for a GFCI to malfunction intermittently, as described by the OP, when there is truly zero load current.  GFCIs ignore fluctuations of the current (running loads normally can draw more and less current depending upon their nature).  A loose connection causes fluctuations of both current and voltage.  GFCIs simply do not respond to changes in voltage at all.

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