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Old 11-28-2011, 01:23 PM   #1
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GFCI Question


Good afternoon!

First of all, let me explain the GFCI circuit in question. In my garage, I have a GFCI outlet, which is tied to the exterior outlet on my front porch. I recently had an electrician come in and tie a non-GFCI outlet to the GFCI outlet in my garage so I could have my outdoor refrigerator plugged into it and will stay on at all times.

Last night, I was in the process of putting Christmas lights out. I had 4 strands of C-9 lights (non-LED) plugged into the outlet on my front porch. With four strands (and my fridge), the GFCI pops. When I unplug one of the strands, it works fine and does not pop. I still have many more lights to plug in and this has never been an issue until after the fridge was tied into this circuit.

Is there anything I can do to help this? Would a new GFCI outlet in my garage help (maybe this one is wearing out)?

I am also toying around with the idea of adding a GFCI circuit to my circuit breaker panel and then installing a brand new GFCI outlet. That way, the only thing on this circuit would be Christmas lights.

Your opinions and advice are much appreciated!!

Thank you in advance!

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Old 11-28-2011, 01:27 PM   #2
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Very possible you have a problem with one of the lights strands. Try plugging them in one at a time and see if the GFCI trips. If so, that strand has a problem.

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Old 11-28-2011, 01:35 PM   #3
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First thing that I would do is plug affected strand into a kitchen, bathroom or other known GFCI circuit, and see what happens. Could be that there is something wrong with that string of lights, in which case I would ditch and replace them.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:36 PM   #4
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Sorry HouseHelper; started typing, did something else, posted, then saw your post.
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:05 PM   #5
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Thank you both for your prompt replies! I will definitely check the strands when I get home and see if any of them trip the GFCI in another location.

So, you don't think the fridge on the same circuit with the Christmas lights is too much of a load?

One more thing I forgot to mention... all of the strands were plugged in and on (managed to get the GFCI to stay on), but when I pressed the button to close my garage door, the GFCI popped. As far as I can tell, the garage doors are not on the GFCI circuit because they remain functional when the GFCI trips. So, I am guessing the garage doors (like my fridge) are on the same circuit as the outside outlet, fridge, and garage GFCI outlet, but not part of the GFCI itself. I hope that all makes sense..

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:39 PM   #6
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GFIs do not trip from too much current being used. They trip when the current does not match very closely between the hot and neutral.
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
GFIs do not trip from too much current being used. They trip when the current does not match very closely between the hot and neutral.
Thank you! So, if I test each light strand and if, for some reason, none of them trip the GFI, should I look into replacing the GFI? Is there a way to test a GFI to see if it is going out?

Thanks again!
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:54 PM   #8
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The cumulative leakage from multiple items may cause the GFI to trip.

I don't know of a way for you to test the GFI. Newer ones that fail will refuse to reset.

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