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Old 06-19-2011, 11:01 AM   #1
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Problems with outdoor in-box faceless GFIs


We have a circuit that feeds an outdoor fountain/decorative pool. The pool has a submersible line voltage pump/fountain and line voltage light in the pool. There are no shared neutrals on the circuit.

The circuit has an outdoor plastic in-ground box and each circuit to pump and light have their own faceless GFIs which are installed inside gasketed outdoor metal boxes within the plastic in-ground box.

After a tough winter, upon opening the area for the season both GFIs were found to be likely internally corroded and not working. I replaced both with Leviton Spec Grade facess GFIs and all was fine ...

... for a few weeks. Now, neither GFI is testable or resettable. In other words, they appear to be fried internally, again, after only a month in service. They haven't been exposed to water/weather during that time.

They were properly wired by an electrician and when I replaced them I did so in exactly the same manner.

Ideas? What would cause them to fail so quickly? I know that there can be problems with motor loads on a GFI but code requires their use here and they worked all last season with no problems.

Below grade conduits terminating in the box have had water in them but I've removed it. Still not working.

Thanks in advance for any replies.


Jeff

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Old 06-19-2011, 11:20 AM   #2
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Problems with outdoor in-box faceless GFIs


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We have a circuit that feeds an outdoor fountain/decorative pool. The pool has a submersible line voltage pump/fountain and line voltage light in the pool. There are no shared neutrals on the circuit.

The circuit has an outdoor plastic in-ground box and each circuit to pump and light have their own faceless GFIs which are installed inside gasketed outdoor metal boxes within the plastic in-ground box.

After a tough winter, upon opening the area for the season both GFIs were found to be likely internally corroded and not working. I replaced both with Leviton Spec Grade facess GFIs and all was fine ...

... for a few weeks. Now, neither GFI is testable or resettable. In other words, they appear to be fried internally, again, after only a month in service. They haven't been exposed to water/weather during that time.

They were properly wired by an electrician and when I replaced them I did so in exactly the same manner.

Ideas? What would cause them to fail so quickly? I know that there can be problems with motor loads on a GFI but code requires their use here and they worked all last season with no problems.

Below grade conduits terminating in the box have had water in them but I've removed it. Still not working.

Thanks in advance for any replies.


Jeff
I'm afraid I can't help you much other than to say the gfi is probably fried. I'm pretty unhappy with the quality of Leviton gfis in general though. I installed a 15 amp in an exterior wall recently...... failed almost right away when running a fairly light duty hammer drill.

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Old 06-19-2011, 11:43 AM   #3
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Problems with outdoor in-box faceless GFIs


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Ideas? What would cause them to fail so quickly? I know that there can be problems with motor loads on a GFI but code requires their use here and they worked all last season with no problems.
Are you sure you don't have a ground fault they are responding to?
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Old 06-19-2011, 02:13 PM   #4
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Problems with outdoor in-box faceless GFIs


It's possible but the nature of that would likely be miniscule leakage between leads in water-filled conduit I think. In any case if it were just a ground fault you'd be able to 'reset' the GFIs I think and then they would trip again (possibly right away). I heard a 'frying' sound inside the GFI housing (I thought). Right now, when you push the reset button there's no 'click' - the way that they act when there's no power to them (but test meter both sides indicates 119V).
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Old 06-19-2011, 02:30 PM   #5
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Problems with outdoor in-box faceless GFIs


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Ideas? What would cause them to fail so quickly? I know that there can be problems with motor loads on a GFI but code requires their use here and they worked all last season with no problems.
Just put in regular outlets and install a GFI breaker.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:18 PM   #6
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Problems with outdoor in-box faceless GFIs


That's our next move, probably. Didn't want to do that because a few items in the house on the same circuit don't want to be tripped off by a touchy breaker.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:32 PM   #7
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That's our next move, probably. Didn't want to do that because a few items in the house on the same circuit don't want to be tripped off by a touchy breaker.
Do you know how this is wired? Is it panel > item in house > item in house > outside?

You can add a gfi outlet or blank (no plugs) right before it comes outside.

Can you post pictures of this setup? Maybe we can figure out why this is happening.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:58 PM   #8
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Problems with outdoor in-box faceless GFIs


Is that fondation pump have plug on it ? if so unplug and test the GFCI ditto with the luminaire as well.

Before you do anything with the GFCI unplug everything even disconnect the load items what it is on and test it first to see if that hold or not if not then get new GFCI, I rather use the Pass & Seymour company verison they are somehow better than levetion as couple other members in here comment the same thing.

Did you have UF cable going underground or what ?

I know you mention in ground plastique box however did you look at the connections in the box is really filled with water or very damp inside { I expected to be damp and you should drill a small hole so it can able drain any accoumecd water out of the box }

If you can post the photo that will really help us a bit with this.

I know you can go with GFCI breaker route but just be aware that not all load centres will take GFCI breakers unless you have pretty modern load centre.

Merci,
Marc

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