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Plugging in Cord to GFCI Outlet

Why Does My GFCI Keep Tripping?


March 22, 2024


Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are crucial safety devices designed to protect you from electrical shocks by interrupting the power when a fault is detected. However, it can be frustrating and concerning when a GFCI keeps tripping frequently. Understanding the common reasons why a GFCI outlet keeps tripping can help you identify and solve the issue effectively. In this guide, we’ll explore the primary causes of GFCI trips and provide you with practical solutions.

Common Reason Outlet Keeps Tripping

1. Ground Faults

The most common reason for a GFCI breaker keeps tripping is a ground fault. This occurs when electricity escapes from the intended path, possibly coming into contact with water or a grounded object. Even a small amount of water leakage or moisture can cause the GFCI to trip to prevent electrocution. Inspect areas around your outlets, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, where water exposure is more likely.

2. Overloaded Circuits

Another reason why your GFCI outlet keeps tripping could be due to an overloaded circuit. This happens when too many appliances or devices draw power from the same source. It’s essential to understand the capacity of your GFCI and ensure that it is not overloaded with high-wattage devices which can exceed the safety limit of the electrical system.

3. Faulty Appliances

Sometimes, the issue might not be with the GFCI itself but with the appliances connected to it. If an appliance is malfunctioning or has a short circuit, it can cause your GFCI to trip. Test this by unplugging all devices and plugging them in one at a time to see if the GFCI trips when a particular device is connected.

4. Worn Out or Damaged GFCI

GFCIs can wear out or become damaged over time. If your GFCI outlet keeps tripping and the above issues have been ruled out, it might be time to replace the GFCI. It’s recommended to test your GFCIs monthly using the test button to ensure they are functioning correctly. If they fail to trip or cannot be reset, replacing them is necessary.

5. Electrical Faults

Electrical wiring issues such as loose connections, aged wiring, or improperly installed wiring can also lead to GFCI trips. If you suspect that the wiring might be the issue, especially in older homes, it is crucial to have a professional electrician inspect and possibly update your wiring.

6. External Interference

Sometimes external factors like lightning or power surges can cause your GFCI to trip. While you can’t control the weather, installing surge protectors can help safeguard your electrical devices and reduce the frequency of trips due to external electrical interferences.

Solving and Preventing GFCI Trips

To effectively address and prevent GFCI trips, consider the following steps:

  • Identify and address moisture issues: Ensure no leaks or dampness around your electrical outlets.
  • Balance the load: Avoid overloading your GFCI outlets by distributing high-wattage appliances across different circuits.
  • Inspect and replace faulty appliances: Regularly check the condition of your appliances and replace or repair any that are defective.
  • Regular maintenance: Conduct periodic checks and replacements of your GFCIs to ensure they function properly.
  • Professional inspection: If you’re unable to determine the cause of the trips, or if you suspect wiring issues, contact a licensed electrician to inspect and correct the problem.

When to Call a Professional

While some troubleshooting steps can be performed without expert help, electrical issues, especially those related to GFCI tripping, can be complex and dangerous. If you’re not confident in your ability to diagnose and fix the problem safely, it’s best to call professional electricians. They can provide a thorough inspection and ensure that your home’s electrical systems are safe and up to code.

Conclusion

Understanding what causes a GFCI to trip is crucial for maintaining the safety and functionality of your home’s electrical system. Whether it’s a ground fault, an overloaded circuit, or an issue with the wiring, addressing these problems can help prevent potential hazards. If you’re experiencing frequent GFCI trips and need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Lickety-Split. Our expert team is ready to help with all your plumbing and electrical needs, ensuring your home is safe and your systems are in excellent condition. Call us today for swift and reliable service!


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