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Old 02-04-2013, 10:02 PM   #1
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GFCI keeps failing


I wired a 20A GFCI on 12-2 THWN in conduit from my shed sub panel to outside by the well for my water softener. It is not sheltered and instead in a wet rated box with an in-use wet rated cover. Not long after wiring it up it tripped and I could not reset it. So I verified my wiring and replaced the outlet and it worked for a while longer. Went out tonight and found it tripped again and I can't reset it again. Any idea why this could be happening? It is the only receptacle on the circuit and the water softener is the only device plugged in.

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:13 PM   #2
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GFCI keeps failing


Tell us about the electrical load ?
What is the amp draw ?

How does this water softner work ?
What does it do ? and how ?

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:19 PM   #3
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Either water is getting into the receptacle/box, or the softener is tripping the GFI. The common thinking is that if the appliance is tripping the GFI, the appliance needs to be replaced. Removing the GFI isn't a legal option.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:26 PM   #4
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This is the softener. http://www.haguewater.com/pdf/Hague%...s%20Manual.pdf

I don't see anything regarding amperage, only 120V 60Hz. I can't imagine it pulling much, it's just a little computer that opens and closes valves occasionally. It was previously plugged into a plain receptacle wired on the 240V circuit powering the well pump (neutral was tied to the ground).

I suppose it could have moisture inside. It rained a couple days ago. If I take it out and blow dry it for a bit and rewire it would that be a sufficient test to rule out the softener? FYI it doesn't reset even without the softener plugged in.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:29 PM   #5
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Is this softener rated to be installed outdoors? I have never seen such a thing.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:43 PM   #6
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Yes. I verified during my research. When we moved here we had a poor softener and filter system that we decided to replace. A local water treatment company installed this for a good price. Great water, warranty, little to no maintenance and takes up about a third of the space of the original system. Very happy with it. Unless of course it's causing my GFCI to trip. If I pull it out, ensure it's dry and rewire it and it works does that eliminate the softener? Will it ever be able to be reset even after it's dry?
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:49 PM   #7
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If the controls for the softener are getting wet, I would suspect the softer has gone bad. If the GFI trips, unplug the softener and try resetting the GFI. If the GFI resets, there is something wrong with the softener.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonD View Post
It is not sheltered and instead in a wet rated box with an in-use wet rated cover. Not long after wiring it up it tripped and I could not reset it.
I hate those things even when used with a drop cord for an hour here and there as designed.

For THIS job... I'll suggest you use a GFI breaker on the circuit.
Hard wire the machine with a 3R switch/enclosure.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:00 PM   #9
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The softener is unplugged and I cannot reset the GFCI. It's not even attempting to reset (no clicks or mechanical sounds). So that indicates moisture in the outlet? Can I prove this by ensuring it's dry and rewiring it or is the GFCI now physically toast?
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
I hate those things even when used with a drop cord for an hour here and there as designed.

For THIS job... I'll suggest you use a GFI breaker on the circuit.
Hard wire the machine with a 3R switch/enclosure.
How would I hard wire the softener when it uses a power adapter? It looks similar to this (note this is not the exact one so the ratings is different):
http://www.hardware-one.com/reviews/...apter_110V.jpg
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:19 AM   #11
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GFCI keeps failing


Jeez i've never seen one of these that would be installed outdoors. Anyway if the gfci will not reset with the water softner removed from the circuit then I would be pretty confident that the gfci receptacle is collecting moisture. I quit installing gfci receptacles outside and instead install a gfci receptacle inside out of the weather then wire in a typical 3 wire grounding style receptacle in the outside box protected by the inside gfci. I would highly recommend you do this. Outside gfci's made me a lot of money over the years ....
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonD View Post
How would I hard wire the softener when it uses a power adapter?
Gotcha... I thought it was a regular 120V cord cap.

I'll still say eliminate the GFI receptacle and always open cover nonsense.
Try what stubie said with putting the GFI device INSIDE and extending that protected circuit outside. That might be enough.

The next step (after that) might be a 6x6 Carlon box.
Put everything inside that and seal it up behind the gasketed cover.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:36 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for your help. There's no convenient place in the shed to install a GFCI outlet (already have one and many others). If I replaced the breaker with a GFI breaker and the receptacle with a standard one would that be as good of a (potential) solution?

You guys have me a little concerned over the talk of not installing that filter outside. I actually called the manufacturer and verified. It has one of the best warranties out there and I wanted to be sure it wouldn't be voided by outside exposed installation. It's been out there for about eight months. We have been talking about building a well house mainly to help with aesthetics but I think I might expedite it a bit now!

Last edited by BrandonD; 02-05-2013 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:39 PM   #14
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As a followup, I replaced the GFCI receptacle with a standard receptacle and replaced the breaker with a GFI one. It's been about two weeks and we've received about 1.5" of rain in that time and it's yet to trip. So hopefully it will stay that way. Thanks all.

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