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Old 04-21-2010, 09:32 PM   #1
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Voltage leak from GFCI?


We have a GFCI outlet on the south side of our home. Standard, 2 outlet, but it provides power via an underground line to another outlet, non GFCI, about 10-12 feet away. When I hit the test button on the GFCI, it kills power to the other outlet.

I noticed today that I got a nice buzz/burn from lifting the metal spring loaded cover that protects the GFCI from the elements. I got my multimeter, and discovered the box itself was hot. Read about 5v measured at 200vAC on the cover, and box housing.

I hit the test button, and I could grab the cover just fine. I then tested the outlets on both the GFCI and the standard outlet, and was still getting some voltage to the top left plug and bottom plug (as far as a 3 way prong goes).

We unfortunately left our pump in the fountain running past the first freeze last fall/winter, and didn't remember to shut if off until I plugged in our iced melting lines on the roof (after the water in the fountain had been frozen solid for over a month). I didn't get the same feeling when we plugged/unplugged the heater strips, but I'm sure I was wearing gloves then too.

Could the fountain pump trying to work while frozen solid have caused this? Is this just a bad GFCI that needs to be replaced?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-21-2010, 09:39 PM   #2
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Is that right on the ground ?
Was it buried in snow ?
I'd bet there is water inside



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Old 04-21-2010, 10:09 PM   #3
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The one that supplies power to the fountain is the one on the ground. The cover was closed through all of winter.

The one that supplies power to it is the one on the house. That cover was closed except for when we had the roof heater strips plugged in, but the snow drits didn't cover it due to the eaves on the roof sheltering it.

No snow on the ground for about 1.5 to 2 months now.

Do you think it's water in the one on the ground causing the problem I take it?
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:16 PM   #4
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First time you have used this outlet sice the winter tiem?
Many things can go wrong on a gfci circuit, and sometime the thing that goes wrong is the receptacle.
If you can't find the quic solution to the problem, replace the receptacle.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkZ28 View Post
I noticed today that I got a nice buzz/burn from lifting the metal spring loaded cover that protects the GFCI from the elements. I got my multimeter, and discovered the box itself was hot. Read about 5v measured at 200vAC on the cover, and box housing.
5v when measured with respect to ground?

With 1 mA current flow detectible, 10 mA painful, and being unable to let go of 20 mA I guess you got ~10 mA. That puts your skin/body resistance at 500 ohms.

With wet skin at 100 ohms you might have gotten a real nasty jolt.

And it's worse for women and children.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 04-22-2010 at 09:34 AM.
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