Mystery GFCI Outlet

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Harts
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Re: Mystery GFCI Outlet

Post by Harts »

NJ-lawn wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:23 pm
The GFCI maybe bad in kids bath. They go bad. Replace it. Make sure you know which wires are LINE and LOAD.
I have replaced the GFI in the kids bath. Wired it the same as the old one. It is possible the old one was wired incorrectly, thus copying it renders the new outlet useless. I'll take another look and see if I can test continuity.

Thanks fellas.

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Re: Mystery GFCI Outlet

Post by NJ-lawn »

Harts wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:23 pm
NJ-lawn wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:23 pm
The GFCI maybe bad in kids bath. They go bad. Replace it. Make sure you know which wires are LINE and LOAD.
I have replaced the GFI in the kids bath. Wired it the same as the old one. It is possible the old one was wired incorrectly, thus copying it renders the new outlet useless. I'll take another look and see if I can test continuity.

Thanks fellas.
If the GFCI was wired incorrectly, the GFCI would not reset. You would know right away, the test/ reset button would not depress. It would instantaneously trip.

Your more than likely have a pair ( black/hot and white/neutral ) for line side and another pair for load side. Make sure you don’t mix up the hot and neutrals.

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Re: Mystery GFCI Outlet

Post by Harts »

NJ-lawn wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:26 pm
Harts wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:23 pm
NJ-lawn wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:23 pm
The GFCI maybe bad in kids bath. They go bad. Replace it. Make sure you know which wires are LINE and LOAD.
I have replaced the GFI in the kids bath. Wired it the same as the old one. It is possible the old one was wired incorrectly, thus copying it renders the new outlet useless. I'll take another look and see if I can test continuity.

Thanks fellas.
If the GFCI was wired incorrectly, the GFCI would not reset. You would know right away, the test/ reset button would not depress. It would instantaneously trip.

Your more than likely have a pair ( black/hot and white/neutral ) for line side and another pair for load side. Make sure you don’t mix up the hot and neutrals.
You are correct. The test button doesn't depress on the new outlet (or the old outlet). The thing I still struggle with is my voltage tester doesn't light up red and beep when I test either of the 2 black wires. This suggests to me there isn't any power going to the outlet at all.

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Re: Mystery GFCI Outlet

Post by NJ-lawn »

You should have voltage at the line side of the GFCI. How many black wires are in the box? Any other colored wires ( red, blue....) other than white. More than likely the “hot” wire in that box comes from your electrical panel. I doubt they feed that GFCI from another location since the GFCI device is physically there. Typically a circuit (dedicated) is ran to a bathroom, than the load side feeds the other bath.

So it needs to be traced back to the panel. It’s possible the breaker in the panel is bad. Did you lose power anywhere else?

Do you have a panel schedule in your electrical box, tells you each circuit breaker location? You need to find which breaker feeds that GFCI. Not sure how comfortable you are removing the cover but you may have to replace a breaker.

Oh one more thing.......make sure your tester works. Test a know hot circuit/ outlet

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Re: Mystery GFCI Outlet

Post by Harts »

NJ-lawn wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:12 pm
You should have voltage at the line side of the GFCI. How many black wires are in the box? Any other colored wires ( red, blue....) other than white. More than likely the “hot” wire in that box comes from your electrical panel. I doubt they feed that GFCI from another location since the GFCI device is physically there. Typically a circuit (dedicated) is ran to a bathroom, than the load side feeds the other bath.

So it needs to be traced back to the panel. It’s possible the breaker in the panel is bad. Did you lose power anywhere else?

Do you have a panel schedule in your electrical box, tells you each circuit breaker location? You need to find which breaker feeds that GFCI. Not sure how comfortable you are removing the cover but you may have to replace a breaker.

Oh one more thing.......make sure your tester works. Test a know hot circuit/ outlet
There are 2 black and 2 white. I know the tester work because I have replaced a few fixtures over the past few weeks and have used the test several times.

I've been in the house about a month now and haven't lost power. The panel is marked but not very well. I'm comfortable doing quite a bit but replacing a breaker isn't something I'd mess with. I have a call out to an electrician to look at it. I think you're on the right track with a bad breaker. Because it wouldn't make sense to me to have two GFCI's on the same line. It would be redundant.

I'll post an update when I have one.

I really appreciate the help.

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Re: Mystery GFCI Outlet

Post by NJ-lawn »

No problem, I’ve been a union electrician for 30 years. I’m retiring next month. We don’t get involved with too much residential work but the basics are all the same. I’ve always enjoyed trouble shooting.

There are a few things it could be, according to how old your home is, there probably been a lot of hands (professional and home owners) in the pot. There are a lot of hacks out there too.

Yes keep us updated. I’m really curious

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Re: Mystery GFCI Outlet

Post by Harts »

NJ-lawn wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:36 pm
No problem, I’ve been a union electrician for 30 years. I’m retiring next month. We don’t get involved with too much residential work but the basics are all the same. I’ve always enjoyed trouble shooting.

There are a few things it could be, according to how old your home is, there probably been a lot of hands (professional and home owners) in the pot. There are a lot of hacks out there too.

Yes keep us updated. I’m really curious
SOLUTION: I was thinking yesterday; prior to our move, I spent a week painting and doing a few things. One of those things was putting dimmers on each of the kids bedrooms. I initially had an issue as when I had both dimmers hooked up, the switch in my daughters room began to control my sons room and the kids bathroom lights. I quickly realized I had one of the black wires on my daughters dimmer on the incorrect terminal. When I moved it to the correct terminal, everything worked. This was about a month ago.

So yesterday I started thinking, "I wonder if one of those dimmers also goes to the GFCI in the kids bathroom (the switch in my son's room is directly behind the wall where the bathroom GFCI is)." Then it hit me that maybe one of those two dimmers were still wired incorrectly, even though the lights worked fine.

When I got home after work, I opened up my son's switch and BINGO! There was a black wire tucked in the back of the box that was capped off. I didn't notice it last month when I changed out the switch. I figured that wire must go to the GFCI outlet....and sure enough, it did.

@NJ-lawn you were correct as well....I had the load and lead wires mixed up on the GFCI.

Everything works now. But it really makes me wonder; the previous owner either never used the outlet in the master bath OR changed the switch in my sons room before they moved out and for whatever reason capped of that black wire.

But had I not changed the switches, it never would have occurred to me to look.

Thanks for all the help fellas.

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Re: Mystery GFCI Outlet

Post by NJ-lawn »

That’s great news.......glad you saved a few bucks and fixed it. FYI for the future....you can buy a non contact voltage tester (tic tracer) to test safely with out taking off wire nuts. Be careful though, you need to move/separate the colored wires (aka “hot” wire) apart somewhat to identify which is hot. Cost ~ $20.

Also always test your tester each time you use them on a known good source. Never take anything for granted and assume it’s operational.

There you go.....a lot of hands in the so called “pot” can cause problems.

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