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Old 06-04-2012, 09:11 AM   #1
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GFCI in living room?


I just purchased a house that has a GFCI outlet in the living room. The GFCI is on the same circuit as the fan and shower light in the bathroom on the opposite side of the wall. When I turn the bath fan on the GFCI trips, and the fan stops. I am thinking I should just replace the GFCI in the living room with a regular outlet, but I have to wonder why this was set up this way in the first place. Does my fix seem correct?

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Old 06-04-2012, 09:27 AM   #2
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GFCI in living room?


Is the fan over the tub/shower? If so, it needs to be GFI protected. I'm guessing the fan motor is on its last legs and the GFI is working as intended.

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Old 06-04-2012, 10:55 AM   #3
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GFCI in living room?


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I just purchased a house that has a GFCI outlet in the living room. The GFCI is on the same circuit as the fan and shower light in the bathroom on the opposite side of the wall. When I turn the bath fan on the GFCI trips, and the fan stops. I am thinking I should just replace the GFCI in the living room with a regular outlet, but I have to wonder why this was set up this way in the first place. Does my fix seem correct?

A little bit strange but I would not do your "fix". The GFCI offers protection, removing it reduces protection. Is that what you really want. If the fan is tripping it is because the fans insulation is breaking down and there is leakage to ground. This is what the GFCI is intended to monitor.

As others have suggested find out what element is causing the GFCI to rip and replace that (it could be light fixture too or wiring in the switch a box).
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:26 PM   #4
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The fan is on the bathroom ceiling in the center of the room. The light is actually in the shower on the ceiling. I have never seen that. I have never heard that a fan needs GFCI protection.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:37 PM   #5
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GFCI in living room?


The tripping GFCI indicates the presence of an actual ground fault. Removing the GFCI because it trips is like putting a penny in a fuse socket because it's been blowing. Fix the ground fault instead.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:21 PM   #6
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GFCI in living room?


My main concern is that in my experience GFCIs will trip even when things are fine. Is there a way to test the fan that is setting this off or does it need replacing? The fan does start up, but then the GFCI is tripped immediately. If there is a short and I switched the GFCI with a regular outlet wouldn’t the circuit breaker then be tripped and I would know for sure there is a problem? If the circuit breaker does not switch off I would think all is good?

Thank you all for your comments.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:28 PM   #7
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Circuit breakers trip because too much current is flowing on the wires. GFI's trip because there is an imbalance between the current going out and the return current. Two very different animals.

A GFI should not be tripping if all is fine. The fact that is is tripping is telling you there is a problem.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:24 PM   #8
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Ok, I did not know that. How do I check the fan for problems? It runs shortly before the GFCI trips. I would rather not buy a new fan if I do not have to.
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:48 PM   #9
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Upon further examination I found that the outlet the fan was connected to must be faulty. The black wire going in had power and the white wire did not. However, when I tested the slots of the outlet there was power in BOTH the black and white side. I assume the power was somehow leaking over into the neutral side. I guess I just need a new outlet.
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:53 PM   #10
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Buy one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Gardner-GFI-50.../dp/B00004WLJM

This would have helped you track this down easier. A good item for everyone's toolbox
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:14 PM   #11
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Curiou, thank you for the recomendation. At Amazon it writes "The tester tests for seven conditions including ground fault interruption, open ground, open neutral, open hot, hot/ground reverse, hot/neutral reverse, and correct wiring." Can you explain what these conditions are and how they are caused?

Thank you.
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:45 PM   #12
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GFCI in living room?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cossack View Post
Upon further examination I found that the outlet the fan was connected to must be faulty. The black wire going in had power and the white wire did not. However, when I tested the slots of the outlet there was power in BOTH the black and white side. I assume the power was somehow leaking over into the neutral side. I guess I just need a new outlet.
How exactly did you do this testing? Did you use a digital or analog meter? If digital, they are very susceptible to phantom voltages. The tester described above is a very handy device to have lent simple to use. I've never seen an outlet with the problem you are describing.
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Originally Posted by Cossack View Post
Curiou, thank you for the recomendation. At Amazon it writes "The tester tests for seven conditions including ground fault interruption, open ground, open neutral, open hot, hot/ground reverse, hot/neutral reverse, and correct wiring." Can you explain what these conditions are and how they are caused?

Thank you.
If you don't know what each of these conditions is you're probably better off not working on your electrical problems and you would be better off hiring an electrician.

Last edited by Msradell; 06-10-2012 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:24 PM   #13
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GFCI in living room?


Quote:
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Upon further examination I found that the outlet the fan was connected to must be faulty. The black wire going in had power and the white wire did not. However, when I tested the slots of the outlet there was power in BOTH the black and white side. I assume the power was somehow leaking over into the neutral side. I guess I just need a new outlet.
That description doesn't make sense, and doesn't describe your testing procedure adequately to determine what's wrong. But none of this sounds relevant to the GFCI problem. It also doesn't sound like a problem with the receptacle itself, either. Can you describe in detail exactly what tests you performed and what the results were?
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:15 PM   #14
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GFCI in living room?


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If you don't know what each of these conditions is you're probably better off not working on your electrical problems and you would be better off hiring an electrician.

This is a DIY forum. I have rewired my entire house with the help of the right books, and there are absolutely no problems. This is a rental house I am working on now. Just because I do not know the proper terms does not mean I cannot connect wires and hook up outlets. An electrician would cost way more than I can afford.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:27 PM   #15
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That description doesn't make sense, and doesn't describe your testing procedure adequately to determine what's wrong.

When I pull down the bathroom fan from the ceiling it is connected to an outlet. It is a typical two slot outlet. The incoming cable from the switch goes to this outlet. There is, of course, a black wire and a white wire going into the outlet from the power cable. I have a wand that I touch to wires and it beeps if there is current. The wand beeps when I touch it to the black wire, but it does not beep when I touch it to the white wire. When I insert the wand tip into the outlet slots it beeps on BOTH the black and white side. Obviously it shold ONLY beep when I put it into the black side. Since it beeps on both sides I assume the power is “leaking” from the black side to the white side.

Again, I am sure I am using the wrong terms, but my diagnosis is correct.

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