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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    1

    Default breaker tripping

    hello. i'm a new memeber and a first time home owner.
    my issue is the plugs in my master bath will not work, it appires they are tied into the other bathroom in the hous which is on the other side of the wall since those plugs in that room are not working either. i thought it was just a simple breaker trip, however when i turn the breaker off then flip it to on, it will instantly trip again. i see also this breaker supplies power to an overhead exhaust fan/light combo in the master bath. the breaker is labled "outside outlets" within the panel, i haven't had the chance to verify that yet due to the rain we've been geting here in oregon. the breaker is a 15 amp GFCI that was last inspected in 1978 (noted in the panel.

    any ideas on what to check for to single out the fault? short of hireing and electrician?

    thanks
    out in oregon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,560

    Default Re: breaker tripping

    GFCI breakers trip because a tiny difference in current flow between the hot and neutral leads. If it does feed outside outlets, even a small amount of moisture in the outlets can cause enough of a short to ground to cause them to trip. I would start by drying out the outside outlets, I would then get an electrician involved to separate outside outlets from the bathroom circuit.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,370

    Default Re: breaker tripping

    Jack is correct.

    The outside outlet is the usual suspect. There is a simple test; dis-assemble the black and white wires to the outside outlet. Place wire nuts over the bared wires. Turn the breaker all the way off, then try to turn it back on again. There is a reason to turn it all the way off; some breakers don't fully turn themselves off and need that little bit more push to get them to properly reset. If disconnecting the outside outlet allows the breaker to remain on, then you know where to correct the problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: breaker tripping

    i completely agree with jack
    the bathroom gfci should most defiitely be put on a seperate circuit from the outside one. typically most gfci's have their own breaker for each one. another possibility is that it could also be gfci protected at the panel itself which is a different can of worms. not only is it more likely to trip at odd times, but when the bathroom one does need to trip it takes longer for it to activate which leaves more chance for a shock
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,560

    Default Re: breaker tripping

    I personally don not like GCFI breakers or daisy chaining outlet off one GCFI receptacles. If it were me I would replace the receptacles with GCFI receptacles and replace the GCFI breaker with a standard breaker. That way it will localize the fault to the individual out let rather than an entire circuit.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: breaker tripping

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    Jack is correct.

    The outside outlet is the usual suspect. There is a simple test; dis-assemble the black and white wires to the outside outlet. Place wire nuts over the bared wires. Turn the breaker all the way off, then try to turn it back on again. There is a reason to turn it all the way off; some breakers don't fully turn themselves off and need that little bit more push to get them to properly reset. If disconnecting the outside outlet allows the breaker to remain on, then you know where to correct the problem.
    I agree with Jack and Houston's troubleshooting .

    However, If you have breakers in which the lever doesn't snap into * off * or * open * position when tripped ,there is a potentionally dangerous situation. Either something is obstructing the lever -- breaker not correctly mounted or the panel cover incorrectly installed -- or the internal spring mechanisim is faulty.

    In which case the obstruction needs to be corrected or the breaker replaced --- leaving this sort of condition is dangerous.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,381

    Default Re: breaker tripping

    I agree with those who point to the outdoor outlet, but the GFCI could be bad. They do fail in this mode.

    I have a similar set up, a little moisture would get into the outside outlet (it was not an outdoor rated outlet) and cause it to trip. After enough cycles, the GFCI would simply not reset properly. I had to replace both, so far so good.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,365

    Default Re: breaker tripping

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    I agree with Jack and Houston's troubleshooting .

    However, If you have breakers in which the lever doesn't snap into * off * or * open * position when tripped ,there is a potentionally dangerous situation. Either something is obstructing the lever -- breaker not correctly mounted or the panel cover incorrectly installed -- or the internal spring mechanisim is faulty.

    In which case the obstruction needs to be corrected or the breaker replaced --- leaving this sort of condition is dangerous.
    No need to panic. I think what Houston was meant by "some breakers don't fully turn themselves off" is that many breakers have a "tripped" position between "on" and "off" -- they are fully off, they're just in a tripped position so you know that it has tripped and wasn't just turned off manually.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: breaker tripping

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    No need to panic. I think what Houston was meant by "some breakers don't fully turn themselves off" is that many breakers have a "tripped" position between "on" and "off" -- they are fully off, they're just in a tripped position so you know that it has tripped and wasn't just turned off manually.
    Perhaps that's a US thing. Those have been long gone around these parts.
    The CSA/UL/CEC here require the breaker lever to snap to the *off/open* position -- example : if the breaker lever *on/closed* position is to the left and the *off/open* position is to the right --- then when tripped it must snap to that position and stay --- it immediately indicates at a glance the breaker is open --- much like a single pole light switch.
    There is no loosey-goosey center positon.

    Then perhaps it should have been said that if the breaker is designed to snap and stay and doesn't then have them corrected.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,560

    Default Re: breaker tripping

    All the breakers I've seen trip to the center position. That way it is readily visible that it was a trip not just turned off. It requires pushing the breaker to the full off position to reset it then push it to the on position.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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