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Old 07-15-2012, 06:04 PM   #1
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Newly installed GFCI outlet trips when ceiling fan/overhead light is turned on


Heres the back story. I just bought a house built in the 1940's which was filled mostly with 2 prong outlets. I have never done any wiring before. I replaced 1 outlet in my living room with a GFCI outlet. There is no ground wire and the box is not grounded as far as I can tell. The wires were very old and as a far as I could tell they were not at any point different colors. All 4 are a dirty brown black. I used a voltage tester to determine which of the wires was the line hot and line neutral one and did not connect the load wires at all. The new outlet worked fine, but the ceiling fan, 1 other outlet, and the front porch light did not work at all, but did not trip the GCFI of course. I then attached the load wires using the other set of a wires as a guide as to which was the "hot" side and which was the neutral side as in I installed the top load wire to the same side the top line wire was and the bottom load wire to the same side as the bottom line wire since there was no way to tell which was which. Now the outlet works fine as does the front porch light and the other outlet, but if i turn on the overhead light/fan combo (its the same switch and is controlled with a remote) it trips immediately. The fan doesnt move at all. Is there any possibility I have the load wires backwards or is this definitely an issue with the fan/light's wiring?

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Old 07-15-2012, 06:12 PM   #2
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Newly installed GFCI outlet trips when ceiling fan/overhead light is turned on


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Heres the back story. I just bought a house built in the 1940's which was filled mostly with 2 prong outlets. I have never done any wiring before. I replaced 1 outlet in my living room with a GFCI outlet. There is no ground wire and the box is not grounded as far as I can tell. The wires were very old and as a far as I could tell they were not at any point different colors. All 4 are a dirty brown black. I used a voltage tester to determine which of the wires was the line hot and line neutral one and did not connect the load wires at all. The new outlet worked fine, but the ceiling fan, 1 other outlet, and the front porch light did not work at all, but did not trip the GCFI of course. I then attached the load wires using the other set of a wires as a guide as to which was the "hot" side and which was the neutral side as in I installed the top load wire to the same side the top line wire was and the bottom load wire to the same side as the bottom line wire since there was no way to tell which was which. Now the outlet works fine as does the front porch light and the other outlet, but if i turn on the overhead light/fan combo (its the same switch and is controlled with a remote) it trips immediately. The fan doesnt move at all. Is there any possibility I have the load wires backwards or is this definitely an issue with the fan/light's wiring?

Thanks!
Probably a internal fan issue. why even line/load the gfci, just pigtail all the wires and feed the GFCI. but, now that you know you have an issue, I would investigate the ceiling fan.

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Old 07-15-2012, 06:14 PM   #3
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Newly installed GFCI outlet trips when ceiling fan/overhead light is turned on


Could just be leakage current in the motor. Motors are notorious for setting off gfci's.
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:17 PM   #4
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Newly installed GFCI outlet trips when ceiling fan/overhead light is turned on


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Could just be leakage current in the motor. Motors are notorious for setting off gfci's.
Only failing motors. Motors themselves work just fine with GFCIs....
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:29 PM   #5
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Newly installed GFCI outlet trips when ceiling fan/overhead light is turned on


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Probably a internal fan issue. why even line/load the gfci, just pigtail all the wires and feed the GFCI. but, now that you know you have an issue, I would investigate the ceiling fan.
I was just following the instructions for installing an outlet. Why would i pigtail all the wires together? What would that do? So can anyone tell me if my problem could be caused by the load wires needing to be switched? As an update, now the outlet won't reset at all even...
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:31 PM   #6
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Newly installed GFCI outlet trips when ceiling fan/overhead light is turned on


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Originally Posted by vash1012 View Post
I was just following the instructions for installing an outlet. Why would i pigtail all the wires together? What would that do? So can anyone tell me if my problem could be caused by the load wires needing to be switched? As an update, now the outlet won't reset at all even...
What you did was line/load the circuit, the issue is, did anything downstream actually require GFCI protection? If not, then just install the GFCI protection at that one location. And what instructions did you follow?

Last edited by stickboy1375; 07-15-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:35 PM   #7
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Newly installed GFCI outlet trips when ceiling fan/overhead light is turned on


with the amount of stuff you have downstream there's bound to be leakage current somewhere. It could even be due to the length of the wire run.
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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Newly installed GFCI outlet trips when ceiling fan/overhead light is turned on


I've found now that the circuit extends through the dining room too. So if I were to disconnect the load wires and pigtail them together this may solve the problem?
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:47 PM   #9
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Newly installed GFCI outlet trips when ceiling fan/overhead light is turned on


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I've found now that the circuit extends through the dining room too. So if I were to disconnect the load wires and pigtail them together this may solve the problem?
It will... But, as a side note, the GFCI is tripping for a reason.. just be aware of that fact. What I mean by that statement is, as you are changing out receptacles and fixtures, pay attention to what might be causing the GFCI to trip to begin with.


Last edited by stickboy1375; 07-15-2012 at 06:51 PM.
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