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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a combination GFCI outlet in the bathroom - it includes one three prong opening and one light switch. When the light switch is turned off, the GFCI outlet tester shows that the three pronged outlet is correctly wired -- two yellow lights. However, when I turn on the light switch, the outlet tester shows all three lights - the two yellow and the red.
A guy who did some electrical work at my house told me it was only important that it shows it is wired correctly when the light switch is off -- he tried to explain why I shouldn't worry about the red light turning on when the light switch is on, but I couldn't really understand the explanation. Does anyone know if this is really ok, and why?

thanks so much!!!
 

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what kind of tester do you have? Is there a legend for a defect indicated by two yellow lights and one red light on the tester?

when you "test" the gfci (using the test button on the gfci) does the light go out too?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is a Sperry outlet tester. It does not say what it means when all three lights are on. When I "test" the gfci the light does NOT go on. But, I just made a very strange discovery: I plugged my hair dryer into the outlet when the light switch was in the Off position. when I pressed the button on my hair dryer to turn it on, not only did the hair dryer go on (which I had hoped and expected) but the lights in the bathroom went on! And when I turned my hair dryer off the lights went off! I assume this cannot be a good situation... but maybe this added info will help in figuring out the problem.
 

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When I "test" the gfci the light does NOT go on
I asked:

when you "test" the gfci (using the test button on the gfci) does the light go out too?

Off, not on.
in other words; turn the light on. Push the test button (which will trip the gfci). Does the light stay on or go off?

I plugged my hair dryer into the outlet when the light switch was in the Off position. when I pressed the button on my hair dryer to turn it on, not only did the hair dryer go on (which I had hoped and expected) but the lights in the bathroom went on! And when I turned my hair dryer off the lights went off! I assume this cannot be a good situation.
were the lights dimmed somewhat?

but no, that is not good.

do you have a brand name and maybe model number for the receptacle/switch device? This has me a bit perplexed and would like to look at the manufactures website to see if I can find anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry - I meant off - when I test the gfci the lights do not turn off.
I do not know the model number for the receptacle...it just looks like a "standard" combination outlet & light switch - probably the cheapest and simplist and most generic one you'd find at home depot for whatever that is worth... Thanks for any thoughts and ideas. I'm hoping to be able to get an electrician in very soon. I obviously won't use the outlet but hopefully it's safe to use the light switch..
 

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No, it isn't right like that. The switch should not have any effect at all on how the outlet tests. The fact that the tester shows a fault on the outlet when the switch is closed indicates that something is connected incorrectly

Ditto the light coming on when the hair dryer is turned on. That should not happen.

If you switch the switch on and off with nothing plugged into the outlet, does the light turn on and off?

When the light came on when you ran the hair dryer, was the switch on or off?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I actually just found that myself a couple of minutes ago - so glad I'm not the first person who this has happened to! Although in my case an actual licensed electrician who came to me with good references did the work.
 

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I just made a very strange discovery: I plugged my hair dryer into the outlet when the light switch was in the Off position. when I pressed the button on my hair dryer to turn it on, not only did the hair dryer go on (which I had hoped and expected) but the lights in the bathroom went on! And when I turned my hair dryer off the lights went off! I assume this cannot be a good situation... but maybe this added info will help in figuring out the problem.
what the hell? :bangin:

there is no way what you are experiencing is even remotely normal,

call the guy back, he should be fixing this for free
 

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If the lighting is fed Panel->LightFixture->Switch and the receptacle (GFI) is wired across the light switch, I can see it. The hairdryer on the receptacle acts as a parallel switch in parallel with the light switch. Quick and dirty drawing below.


Crosshatched area represents the actual load (heat element and fan motor) in the hairdryer.
 
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