GFI Outlet Trips When It Rains - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-25-2009, 09:58 AM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


Our house is wired with a GFI outlet on the outside wall with the deck outlets and the crawl space lights wired thru it. It is on a 15a breaker that controls a few other outlets, which still work when the GFI is tripped. When it rains, the GFI outlet trips and won't reset until it's been dry for a few days. I've replaced all the outlets and weather covers and replaced the GFI outlet, but it continues to trip. Yesterday, a friend came over with a tester and it was dry enough that the GFI would reset. All the outlets checked OK and all the lights under the house came on. Last night it rained and this morning the GFI was tripped again and won't reset. Can you come up with any possibilities for fixing this problem?

Advertisement

rubye2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2009, 10:04 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 264
Rewards Points: 258
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


If you examined all the outlets, then the only thing to do is map out the circuit and start disconnecting to isolate the problem.

Advertisement

tribe_fan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2009, 10:05 AM   #3
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 8,345
Rewards Points: 3,484
Blog Entries: 4
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


Remove the load connections and see if it resets. If it does then connect the load terminals and break the circuit at another point and try to reset. Continue this until you determine where the problem is. Water is getting in somewhere. You need to determine where and seal it up.
__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2009, 11:14 AM   #4
Tool Geek
 
PaliBob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pacific Palisades CA
Posts: 2,545
Rewards Points: 2,070
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


Quote:
Originally Posted by rubye2 View Post
....... I've replaced all the outlets and weather covers....
Are the Covers "Wet Location" ?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001B39P4C/...0&linkCode=asn
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubye2 View Post
......and the crawl space lights wired thru it.
Are these lights plugged into the GFCI or are they in conduit?
__________________
Disclaimer
& Stay Safe
.....Bob Lavery

Last edited by PaliBob; 05-25-2009 at 11:20 AM.
PaliBob is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2009, 01:11 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


Bypass your GFCI with jumper wires and put a 7-1/2w incand. lamp in series with the ground wire that serves the cable downstream of your GFCI.

When it rains or you soak the area with a hose, if the voltage across the bulb reads from 0.6 to 1.0 vac to up to 120vac you've found your leakage path to ground. A normal reading would be less than 15 mVac.

Disconnect chunks of the cable until the leakage current goes away.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2009, 01:40 PM   #6
Electrical Contractor
 
kbsparky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


Sounds like a loose underground wire somewhere. Is there a shed connected to this, or an abandoned outside receptacle in the garden or yard?
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2009, 04:13 PM   #7
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


The GFI outlet is on the outside of the house wall. Nothing is plugged into the GFI outlet. All outlets and lights that are on this GFI outlet are hot wired through it. There are only one set of wires in and one set of wires out, so all the splitting is done under the house. Only those outlets that are on the deck would be considered a wet area. They all have new boxes and covers designed for wet areas. I don't know why the lights under the house were put on it, as it's an enclosed space under the house. All the wiring is run along the first floor joists and the only wires that are exposed to the elements are to three outlets, all of which have been replaced and all of which tested to work when the GFI had dried out enough that I could reset it. Can an outlet or a light actually work when the conditions are dry and then cause the GFI to trip when the conditions are wet? I guess the problem could be in one of the junction boxes where he made the splits to go to the outlets and the lights. I haven't found that yet, but it's not in a wet area.
rubye2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2009, 06:51 PM   #8
Tool Geek
 
PaliBob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pacific Palisades CA
Posts: 2,545
Rewards Points: 2,070
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


Quote:
Originally Posted by rubye2 View Post
...... Nothing is plugged into the GFI outlet....
So far so good

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubye2 View Post
Only those outlets that are on the deck would be considered a wet area. They all have new boxes and covers designed for wet areas......only wires that are exposed to the elements are to three outlets, ....
  1. A Wet Location cover has a specific definition. Are they Wet Location Covers?
  2. Is there anything plugged into any of the three outlets?
Attached Thumbnails
GFI outlet trips when it rains-wr-cover-leviton-4978-.jpg   GFI outlet trips when it rains-wr-cover-union-wp-1100c.jpg  
__________________
Disclaimer
& Stay Safe
.....Bob Lavery
PaliBob is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2009, 07:29 AM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


Yes they are wet location covers and nothing is plugged into any of them.
rubye2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2009, 07:32 AM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


In studying your illustration again. I would have to say they are weather resistant covers, although there are two doors, one to each receptacle. The covers aren't designed for permanent attachment of a cord as in your description of a wet location cover.
rubye2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2009, 02:51 PM   #11
Tool Geek
 
PaliBob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pacific Palisades CA
Posts: 2,545
Rewards Points: 2,070
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


Since there is nothing plugged into any of the outlets, the type of cover is not as significant as if one or more had a cord plugged in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Water is getting in somewhere. You need to determine where and seal it up.
Joed is right on this, if you can't visually find where, then it is time to start with the garden hose spray test.

Start with the GFCI Location with a medium 5 minute spray. If no response, wait 10 minutes and go to the next outlet and repeat until the GFCI trips.

Remember the GFCI is looking for a leakage path that might be very close or at the end of the run. The leakage can be at any point downstream from the GFCI.

What would be your estimate that the total length of all the wiring downstream from the GFCI? Could it be up to 150' ?
__________________
Disclaimer
& Stay Safe
.....Bob Lavery

Last edited by PaliBob; 05-26-2009 at 02:53 PM. Reason: sp
PaliBob is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2009, 02:54 PM   #12
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 8,345
Rewards Points: 3,484
Blog Entries: 4
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


I have also seen receptacles that were full of insects, dead or alive. The rain would be absorbed in the bodies and trip the GFCI no matter how good the cover was. You need to troubleshoot while it is acting up and determine where the problem is.
__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2009, 08:08 PM   #13
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


The total physical distance (as the crow flies) from the GFI outlet to the furtherist outlet is probably no more than 60 feet, but they go in all different directions. . . some to the back of the house, some to the front. . . so the total wiring from it must be at least 150 feet.
I don't think it could be a problem with bugs or anything in the outlets or the outlet boxes as I've changed all the outlets, cleaned out all the boxes, installed new weather boxes for those that were exposed and installed new weather covers for all the boxes.
The puzzling thing to me is that any little bit of rain will cause it to trip. I've looked at all the wiring that's exposed to the elements . . . no more than 20 feet. . . and find nothing suspicious, looking for staples cutting into the side of the wire, etc. All the other boxes are mounted on the side of the house and their boxes are within the walls of the house.
Looks like I need to hire someone with a meter that can track down the problem. I'm at a loss at this point, but appreciate all your help. Thanks.
rubye2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2009, 08:15 PM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


150' of Romex will give about 1 mA of reactive leakage current. GFCIs are supposed to trip at 4 to 6 mA.
Must be something else or a very sensitive GFCI.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2009, 08:19 PM   #15
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 8,345
Rewards Points: 3,484
Blog Entries: 4
Default

GFI outlet trips when it rains


I will repeat.

Remove the load connections and see if it resets. If it does then connect the load terminals and break the circuit at another point and try to reset. Continue this until you determine where the problem is. Water is getting in somewhere. You need to determine where and seal it up.

Advertisement

__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Just for fun Andy in ATL Electrical 56 10-20-2009 10:33 AM
What did i do wrong? - Outlet install trips breaker nymex Electrical 22 05-07-2009 03:44 PM
Adding new ceiling light in place of switched outlet XavierG35 Electrical 2 02-13-2008 10:05 PM
Wiring a switch, power from outlet Big Bill Electrical 4 09-15-2007 04:59 PM
European 220V outlet "Schuko" estophile Electrical 6 08-27-2005 09:45 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts