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Old 12-05-2009, 08:51 AM   #16
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Is there an attic over where the circuit in question goes?

If yes do you have access to the attic (as in it is a large attic you can easily get into)?

If yes, might want to peek at the wiring up there and see if a wire from that area heads off to another location...

(People will add things on to existing circuits sometimes.)

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Old 12-05-2009, 09:10 AM   #17
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


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Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Is another circuit fed off that GFCI.

If so. look at anything in your kitchen. that doesn't work when you trip the GFCI. Also, check outdoor lights and receps, they may have wired one to the GFCI.
Everything is kitchen works. All outdoor lights and recepticals work as well.

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Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
Probably a piece of heat tape plugged into that circuit. The fact that the bathroom GFI controls it further confirms my suspicions.

Look under the house (basement/crawl space) for the culprit.
Not sure what "heat tape" is - like for heating flooring or something? This is a 1977 house. Nothing like that in this place. Also, its a split level with no basement or crawl space.

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Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
It is chilly lately. Do you have an electric space heater somewhere with the dial "turned off", but still plugged in?

Some electric heaters do not turn totally off, rather they will run when it gets pretty cold. The dial just reduces the temperature that they will turn on at.

So might try unplugging things like this in seldom used areas like basement, attic, etc.

Or do you have a water pipe heater? These keep the pipes warm and keep them from freezing. Under house in crawl space?

Check all over...
Just confirmed again - EVERYTHING in this circuit is UNPLUGGED, every light switch turned OFF. No water pipe heater either.

By everyone telling me to look for something still plugged in and/or in use, should I read between the lined that its just impossible for a bad GFCI when "set" to have a 900W draw? Like I mentioned before, with the GFCI tripped everything works great. I even can run the heater on 1800W with all lights and fans on and it doesnt trip. The minute I put this GFCI in the loop, Circuit Breaker 18 trips (GFCI stays set).

Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Sounds like you have a load that you haven't found. along with Beenthere's checks I have few others. Is the bathroom ventilation fan working or stuck? Is there a heater in it?
Good ideas, but no. Fan is working, not stuck. No heater in the fan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Breakers do not trip exactly at the amp rating, ie a 15 does not trip at 15.01 nor 15.25. They will hold above the rating for a period of time depending on the amount of overage. The greater the overage the quicker the trip, 40 amps very quickly, 16 will probably hold for an hour or more. All this is determined by the manufacturers trip curves.
I am using basic Home Depot $5 square D circuit breakers. Does this apply even to these cheapies?

Last edited by jasonblu; 12-05-2009 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:47 AM   #18
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Yes, even the cheap breakers have a trip curve as described and will tolerate draws in excess of the rating on the handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonblu View Post
Like I mentioned before, with the GFCI tripped everything works great. I even can run the heater on 1800W with all lights and fans on and it doesnt trip. The minute I put this GFCI in the loop, Circuit Breaker 18 trips (GFCI stays set).
How are you running this without the GFI? Are you removing the device?

Last edited by Jim Port; 12-05-2009 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:05 AM   #19
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Yes, even the cheap breakers have a trip curve as described and will tolerate draws in excess of the rating on the handle.



How are you running this without the GFI? Are you removing the device?
No. It is still connected as I found it, but to get circuit breaker no. 18 (which feeds all three bathrooms in the house [two upstairs, one down] the hallway adjacent to the two upstairs bathrooms, and the master bedroom) to not trip under a 900W load or more I have to press the "test" button on the GFCI in the bathroom, and leave it off. The minute I hit "reset" CB 18 trips under a 900W load or more. Does this mean that the GFCI was installed improperly? It looks like an old yellowed unit, possibly original equipment in this 1977 house.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:13 AM   #20
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


When you trip the GFI with the TEST button what receptacles go dead? Is the heater plugged in upstream or downstream of the GFI?

What part of Annapolis are you in?
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:26 AM   #21
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
When you trip the GFI with the TEST button what receptacles go dead?
Only itself. Nothing else goes dead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Is the heater plugged in upstream or downstream of the GFI?
I dont know how to determine this. I would assume downstream only because the GFI is physically closer to the breaker box than the rest of the outlets on this circuit.
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What part of Annapolis are you in?
Were actually in Edgewater. You?
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:33 AM   #22
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Back in the late 1970's, many houses were wired with the outside outlets connected to the bathroom GFCI's.

Take a look outside, and see if anything is plugged in -- Xmas lights, old extension cords, goldfish pond pump, etc. An underground line that is leaking juice could also be your culprit (shed in the yard?).

Are you SURE there is no crawl space under at least one of the split-level sections?

Heat tape is commonly used to wrap water pipes in unheated areas to prevent them from freezing.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:50 AM   #23
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Water pipes can freeze in the winter. So you can get electric heat tape to wrap around the pipes. It could look like this or there could be foam over something like this...



Foam insulation for pipes...

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Old 12-05-2009, 10:50 AM   #24
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Can you safely remove the GFI from the box and describe the number of wires and cables? Which are on the LINE side? Are there any on the LOAD side?

On the Shore, but do a lot of work in AA.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:52 AM   #25
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
Back in the late 1970's, many houses were wired with the outside outlets connected to the bathroom GFCI's.

Take a look outside, and see if anything is plugged in -- Xmas lights, old extension cords, goldfish pond pump, etc. An underground line that is leaking juice could also be your culprit (shed in the yard?).

Are you SURE there is no crawl space under at least one of the split-level sections?

Heat tape is commonly used to wrap water pipes in unheated areas to prevent them from freezing.
Ok - now this WOULD be an interesting possibility since the original 15A line that goes underground to my septic pump no longer works, and testing shows it to be an "OPEN". (ground hog chewed through it maybe?) To keep my septic pump working I have had to run an extension cord from one of my outdoor outlets out to the pump as a temporary fix. Only problem with this being the culprit is the CB that feeds the original septic pump line is now turned OFF, and the outlets outside are NOT fed from CB 18 nor this GFI.

And yes I am positive there is no crawl space in this house. It's a split level home on a concrete slab half buried into the ground. I have actually dug down 5 feet to the footing to seal off some cinderblock that was leaking through to the basement. The water main from my well is buried 36" underground and goes into the house from underground. No need for heat tape.

Great ideas though. thank you for all your help!
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:54 AM   #26
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Here is a pic of the offending GFI.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:54 AM   #27
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


It could be a GFCI outlet which is the problem, unlikely though. And much safer to first search for something plugged in somewhere than to go working on the wiring.

A few other ideas...

Electric blanket in bedroom?

TV antenna systems for a TV antenna on the roof have "amplifiers" which might be in an attic. These plug into an outlet.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:58 AM   #28
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Ah ha! You have a well!

It is common around my area to install some sort of heating gizmo in the "little room" where the well pump is...
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Old 12-05-2009, 11:09 AM   #29
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
It could be a GFCI outlet which is the problem, unlikely though. And much safer to first search for something plugged in somewhere than to go working on the wiring.

A few other ideas...

Electric blanket in bedroom?

TV antenna systems for a TV antenna on the roof have "amplifiers" which might be in an attic. These plug into an outlet.

If its not this GFI, why does my CB trip only when it is set?

Confirmed: NOTHING is plugged in at all anywhere to include electric blanket or TV antenna. In fact, not only do I not have a TV antenna,
I don't even have an attic. lol.

Thanks for all the brainstorming though.


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Old 12-05-2009, 11:12 AM   #30
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900W and up trips breaker, Circuit draws power even with everything off...


[quote=Billy_Bob;361671]Ah ha! You have a well!

It is common around my area to install some sort of heating gizmo in the "little room" where the well pump is...[/quote]

You'd think, but my well has no little room. It just has the little white PVC well head exposed to the open air. The power for this well pump is off a completely separate circuit though.

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