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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a cabinet maker by trade but as I was helping a little old lady with her cabinet doors being warped, she asked me a question that I'm not sure of:
When it rains, her "ground fault indicator" trips but then can be reset after the rain. I ran the question on Google and it seems to be a common problem.
Can someone direct me on how to track this down without having to hire an electrician for her?
She told me that she hired an electrician and although he charged her for a call, the next time it rained, the problem was not solved and now he won't return her calls. Please help if you can.

Amelia
 

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Older gfic units tend to not be as reliable in damp locations. Some are for interior use only. If it is a habitual problem I would replace the unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The GFI is in one of her bathrooms and controls 3 outside outlets which appear to be pretty well protected from water. The gfi will reset after the rain is over for about an hour.

Thanks
 

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The GFI is in one of her bathrooms and controls 3 outside outlets which appear to be pretty well protected from water. The gfi will reset after the rain is over for about an hour.

Thanks

When you say it only happens after a rain, imo, this tells me water/moisture is getting into one or more of those outside outlets somewhere causing the gfci to trip. The seals can fail sometimes. Rule that out, then as suggested, replace the bathroom gfci. They can get old and wear out to.
 

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Did she say what the electrician did? Did he replace anything.

With 3 outlets it should be easy to drop off two leaving just one. Then wait to see if the problem returns.

Bud
 

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Yes, process of elimination. I would guess they are wired one to the other to the other. The last one, if it is the end, will have only one feed coming in. The other two will have an in and out, may be wired from the receptacle or wirenut in box. The electrical pros will know best.

Inspecting the boxes after a rain might show moisture. If a basement you can also inspect the rim joist below the boxes if basement ceiling has access. Moisture may show up in other places.

Bud
 
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I'm a cabinet maker by trade... When it rains, her "ground fault indicator" trips but then can be reset after the rain. I ran the question on Google and it seems to be a common problem.
Ground faults are when current leaks from the active wires to safety ground, to earth, through a human, etc.

Needless to say it'll happen if the wiring gets wet. So that's actually a carpentry/construction problem, not an electrical problem. If you call an electrician, all you'll get is a lecture on what a GFCI is and does.

An added piece of the puzzle is that any given GFCI device is able to supply GFCI protected power to downline points-of-use. So for instance one GFCI breaker protects a whole circuit, or one GFCI recep can protect other receps wired from its LOAD terminals.

If the receptacle was inside the building, I'd call that a very serious problem that the construction trades ought to deal with *tout suite* before mold sets in.


If the recep was outdoors, then normal weather action is wetting the recep or junction box. And that too is a carpentry problem. I myself like to build little cabinets around outdoor receps and panelboards, as I find the "outdoor rated" stuff exaggerates quite a lot.

Oh, one other thing. This actually is electrical. Some chowderheads use "Romex" (indoor electrical cable) outdoors. Don't do that, that causes this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
How would an electrician determine if the Romex was for indoor or outdoor use? Is there a different color? I think you have keyed on the problem since at some time a downline receptacle was put in and the cable is visible from the GFI controlled box.
Amelia.
 

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A comparison.

I had my back porch light stop working this winter. I was going to go through a long process of tracking down and repairing it.

I realized this circuit had somehow become controlled by a GFCI next to it. There was an extension cord plugged into this GFCI outlet that the other end had gotten buried in the snow and then shorted as the snow started to melt. Unplugged the extension cord reset the GFCI and lights were back.

Find out which outlet has a leak and fix it or disable it. None of my GFCIs have covers and I have no troubles at all but the climate in Wyoming varies slightly from Florida. As I am installing new outdoor outlets I have discovered the standard of outlet covers have changed.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/TAYMAC-...C43FCnZNxqSqLk4MS34aAryQEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
 

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How would an electrician determine if the Romex was for indoor or outdoor use? Is there a different color? I think you have keyed on the problem since at some time a downline receptacle was put in and the cable is visible from the GFI controlled box.
Amelia.
Outdoor Romex is usually grey and has a different cover layout. Instead of one outer case that can be slit and cut and pulled off. The outdoor wire has the case cover all 3 wires completely and takes more effort to unsheath. It would be hard to tell by looking in the junction box if you can't inspect the sheath well.

If the outlets you are concerned with are on the outer wall normal romex should be fine. The outdoor romex is designed to be buried for underground runs. I am using some for running under my deck in the framing.
 

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How would an electrician determine if the Romex was for indoor or outdoor use? Is there a different color? I think you have keyed on the problem since at some time a downline receptacle was put in and the cable is visible from the GFI controlled box.
Amelia.

Cables have markings on the outer jacket specifying what type they are. That's the best way to tell what it is, but you may not be able to see the markings if only a short section is visible.



Color can sometimes give you a clue, but isn't a completely reliable way to tell for sure, as there is no standard. Romex often has a white outer jacket for 14 gauge cable, and yellow for #12 . UF (outdoor rated) is often grey or brown. The older the wiring is, the less reliable the color may be as an indicator.
 

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