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Old 01-19-2014, 04:45 PM   #1
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


I had a fan for radon remediation installed Friday.
This morning I noticed it wasn't working; looking up I saw the GFCI had tripped. Resetting it, it worked for about 3 minutes. I reset it and it tripped in a few seconds. I let it go for 10 minutes and reset it. I ran for a minute and tripped. Reset and tripped in a few seconds.
I let it sit for 2 hours and it is still running after 10 minutes.
So, it seems to run longer without tripping if I let it sit longer before resetting. Might be coincidence, but it might also be a symptom.

The way I see it, it could be wired poorly at either the GFCI or the fan, the GFCI could be defective, or the fan could be defective. But wouldn't any of those cause it to have a ground fault or not have a ground fault; not what I am seeing?

Any ideas?

I don't know much about these things, but maybe something to do with static electricity? It is 100cfm running through a 4" pvc pipe, and cold and dry out. That might generate static electricity that might somehow interfere with the GFCI operation? I don't know, but it is all I can think of.

Any help would be appreciated.
20 minutes now and it is still running; don't know if that is good or bad...

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Old 01-19-2014, 05:52 PM   #2
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


I've never had any luck running appliances off of a gfci. I've seen many flooded basements caused by sump pumps plugged into gfci receptacles. I had a septic tank pump constantly tripping a gfci. I'll bet that if you run an exstention cord from a standard receptacle to your fan it will work fine. If so then I'd replace the gfci with a single outlet reptacle. If only your radon fan is plugged into it, it shouldn't need to be a gfci.
Just the opinion of a carpenter, not an electician.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:01 PM   #3
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


So, when the protection works, your solution is to bypass the protection rather than to figure out the cause. Hope that never bites you.
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:31 PM   #4
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


Yep. That's what I would do. I've seen it a hundred times. If I were worried about it I'd call an electrician.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:12 PM   #5
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


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Originally Posted by Toller View Post
I had a fan for radon remediation installed Friday.
This morning I noticed it wasn't working; looking up I saw the GFCI had tripped. Resetting it, it worked for about 3 minutes. I reset it and it tripped in a few seconds. I let it go for 10 minutes and reset it. I ran for a minute and tripped. Reset and tripped in a few seconds.
I let it sit for 2 hours and it is still running after 10 minutes.
So, it seems to run longer without tripping if I let it sit longer before resetting. Might be coincidence, but it might also be a symptom.

The way I see it, it could be wired poorly at either the GFCI or the fan, the GFCI could be defective, or the fan could be defective. But wouldn't any of those cause it to have a ground fault or not have a ground fault; not what I am seeing?

Any ideas?

I don't know much about these things, but maybe something to do with static electricity? It is 100cfm running through a 4" pvc pipe, and cold and dry out. That might generate static electricity that might somehow interfere with the GFCI operation? I don't know, but it is all I can think of.

Any help would be appreciated.
20 minutes now and it is still running; don't know if that is good or bad...
Static Electricity has nothing to do with it. Take an extension cord, and connect the blower to that, then plug in the extension cord into another GFCI outlet, that was pre-existing.

If that one trips, the blower is bad. If the other GFCI does not, you either have 1) A miswired GFCI. or 2) A bad GFCI.

It can only be one of three things. Static Electricity is not going to cause problems.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:26 PM   #6
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


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Static Electricity has nothing to do with it. Take an extension cord, and connect the blower to that, then plug in the extension cord into another GFCI outlet, that was pre-existing.

If that one trips, the blower is bad. If the other GFCI does not, you either have 1) A miswired GFCI. or 2) A bad GFCI.

It can only be one of three things. Static Electricity is not going to cause problems.
I was about to ask how I diagnose the problem when it hasn't tripped for 3 hours, but your idea is a good one.
The GFCI is hard wired, but it is easy enough to put a plug on it.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:41 PM   #7
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


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I was about to ask how I diagnose the problem when it hasn't tripped for 3 hours, but your idea is a good one.
The GFCI is hard wired, but it is easy enough to put a plug on it.
Most likely the motor was seizing or overheat. I would have that guy who put it in, come back and replace the motor, regardless.
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:08 AM   #8
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


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Most likely the motor was seizing or overheat. I would have that guy who put it in, come back and replace the motor, regardless.
Yeah sounds like a no brainer to me anyway, warrantee issue being that new.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:20 AM   #9
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


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Yeah sounds like a no brainer to me anyway, warrantee issue being that new.

I don't think the motor seized because it sometimes runs normally.
But yes, I called the contractor even before I posted here. He hasn't returned my call. Some contractors aren't terribly reliable; once they have been paid the job is over forever.

Besides; it has been running normally now for 17 hours. I doubt he would want to replace a motor that seems to him to be fine. But I doubt it has healed itself.

(And some contractors are extremely reliable... I bought my 6yo house a year ago and found the furnace had been vented incorrectly. The original contractor replaced all the venting with a larger size pipe because he agreed it was unprofessional. I don't want to criticize ALL contractors, but many are bad, and the only way to find out is to have a problem.)

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Old 01-20-2014, 10:06 AM   #10
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


GFI's do not trip from an over load, that's what the breakers for.
http://home.howstuffworks.com/question117.htm
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:44 AM   #11
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


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GFI's do not trip from an over load, that's what the breakers for.
http://home.howstuffworks.com/question117.htm
If a motor winding coating is burning off, or that the motor stops running from seizing, yes a GFCI will trip.
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:46 AM   #12
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


If he is not returning calls, you need to report him to your state licensing board. Also start sending certified letters and keep a log of the times you call him, what number you called him at.

That way if you do have to take him to Small Claims, to recoup having him either pay back your money, or fix the problem you have a paper trail.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:56 PM   #13
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


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I've never had any luck running appliances off of a gfci. I've seen many flooded basements caused by sump pumps plugged into gfci receptacles. I had a septic tank pump constantly tripping a gfci. I'll bet that if you run an exstention cord from a standard receptacle to your fan it will work fine. If so then I'd replace the gfci with a single outlet reptacle. If only your radon fan is plugged into it, it shouldn't need to be a gfci.
Just the opinion of a carpenter, not an electician.
That's remarkably bad, dangerous, illegal advice which shows a real failure to understand GFCI protection.
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:37 PM   #14
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


Installer finally got back to me, he has been out of town.

He spoke to the fan manufacturer and they tell him he was wrong to use a GFCI; they trip even though nothing is wrong. He has always used them and a few tripped, but were replaced under warranty. But on the manufacturer's recommendation he will take the GFCI out.

I checked myself and the mfg confirms they don't want a GFCI.

Is there likely to be any code requirement on this?
Is there likely to be any safety issue? I suppose a ground fault could give a shock, but everything is plastic or grounded so it seems harmless enough.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:05 PM   #15
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So why is my GFCI tripping?


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If he is not returning calls, you need to report him to your state licensing board. Also start sending certified letters and keep a log of the times you call him, what number you called him at.

That way if you do have to take him to Small Claims, to recoup having him either pay back your money, or fix the problem you have a paper trail.
Id say give him time to reply before talking about getting all wound up about calling out the calvary, sometimes contractors are stuck on other projects or they just have other issues they are dealing with.

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