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Old 06-12-2012, 03:03 PM   #16
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GFCI in living room?


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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.
Since you're not seeing current in the wires there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the circuit. The two conductors are so close together inside of the receptacle that it's quite possible you will detect current (your wand beeps) no matter which side you're testing. The only way to be sure is to use a meter (analog preferred in this case) and a check from each slot to ground.

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Old 06-12-2012, 03:04 PM   #17
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GFCI in living room?


If you have an open neutral then the hot voltage could be seen on the white line as it will pass through the motor windings. Maybe your power feed is the problem. The neutral isn't connected somewhere upstream.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:14 PM   #18
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GFCI in living room?


If it is an older GFI some of them did not work well with bath fans. Mine would trip now and then. Replaced the GFI and never have had another problem. Just saying.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:33 PM   #19
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GFCI in living room?


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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.
This doesn't sound right. There should be a black and white wire connected to the line side where power comes in and a separate black and white wire connected to the load side. Plus the bare copper ground wires can be wired together. A total of 6 wires connected to 5 different points on the outlet (including ground). If someone wire the white wires together, it would cause the behavior you get.

Also, the reason you require a GFCI has more to do with the light being over the tub, then the fan. Basic rules is any thing eletric that you can touch while standing in the tub must be GFCI protected. Others can give you the code citation and actual distances.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:01 PM   #20
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GFCI in living room?


Well, the fan did not vent. It just sat in between the joists, so I am going to replace the whole unit with a fan that does vent. I guess it is time to get a little more serious and buy a meter. What do you all recommend? Do you all have both digital and analog? I already ordered the GFCI tester mentioned above.

Goosebarry, this is a rental property I just purchased so I never assume anything was done for a good reason. It could very well be this is the only outlet the last owner had in the house.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:40 PM   #21
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GFCI in living room?


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I guess it is time to get a little more serious and buy a meter. What do you all recommend? Do you all have both digital and analog? I already ordered the GFCI tester mentioned above.
For normal household work a basic analogs meter should be sufficient. You probably won't have a need for a digital meter.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:34 PM   #22
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GFCI in living room?


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For normal household work a basic analogs meter should be sufficient. You probably won't have a need for a digital meter.
I think it s going to be hard to find an analog meter nowadays. DVMs are the norm. They range in price from $10 to a couple hundred.
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:02 AM   #23
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GFCI in living room?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cossack View Post
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.
Those non-contact voltage testers are notoriously unreliable and often give false positives. It was probably giving a positive result from proximity to the hot wire near it. To really determine what's up, you'll need to use an actual multimeter to measure the voltage between the hot and neutral slots, and between each slot and the metal chassis. Got to be aware of the tendency for digital multimeters to read "phantom voltages" too though.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:58 AM   #24
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GFCI in living room?


This type of tester is not subject to the phantom voltage like a digital meter.

http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...age_tester.jsp

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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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