GFCIs will trip when they encounter a ground fault. But that is supposed to happen when you plug an appliance into the GFCI outlet. What happens when your GFCI starts tripping even though it doesn’t have anything plugged into it. Sometimes, the GFCIs are simply bad. But as the guide below will soon show you, that doesn’t apply to every single situation.
What Causes A Breaker To Trip When Nothing Is Plugged In?
You have to consider the possibility that the GFCI is defective or damaged. This happens all the time. Though, if you don’t believe that the GFCI has gone bad, It is also due to the damaged input wire. A damaged input wire can cause a leakage in the current.
A damaged input wire is not simply a nuisance. It is dangerous. Your GFCI keeps tripping because it wants to protect you. Stop resetting it until a professional resolves the problem.
Before you call a professional, you should check to ensure that nothing is plugged into the GFCI. Some homeowners attach GFCIs to every single outlet. Others use a single GFCI to protect multiple outlets downstream.
Even though the outlet with the GFCI doesn’t have anything plugged into it, if an outlet downstream is connected to an appliance, a defect in that appliance could cause the GFCI to trip, depriving all the outlets in the chain of power.
This is the reason why this configuration is so problematic. A fault in one outlet will affect all the outlets. The only way to conclude that you don’t have any devices plugged into the GFCI is to check all the outlets downstream.
If you have at least one appliance plugged into one of the outlets downstream, that appliance could be the cause of the incessant tripping.
What To Do If GFCI Keeps Tripping?
The solution you will apply will depend on the cause of the tripping, for instance:
1). Unplug Appliances
If you have an appliance plugged into one of the outlets downstream, unplug it. If the tripping stops, you can comfortably conclude that the appliance was the problem. If plugging other appliances into the outlet causes the GFCI to trip, the GFCI is the problem. If the appliance is at fault, unplugging it should resolve the situation.
2). Hire An Electrician
You have to hire an electrician. They will identify and then fix the source of the leakage.
3). Replace Defective GFCI
If the GFCI has gone bad, your only solution is to replace it. If you have the means, you should also consider installing a GFCI at each outlet. That way, a fault in an appliance plugged into one outlet won’t affect the other GFCI outlets.
How To Fix Tripped GFCI Outlet?
If the GFCI has tripped, the only thing you can do is to press the ‘RESET’ button. This will restore power to the GFCI outlet.
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Why GFCI Outlet Keeps Tripping When I Plug Something In?
If your GFCI Outlets keeps tripping regardless of what you plug into it, one or more of the following might be the cause:
1). Loose Wiring
A loose connection in the GFCI outlet can cause nuisance tripping. Tripping is a good thing here because it is protecting you and your equipment. You should hire a professional to check the GFCI for other sources of current leakage. They may identify old and worn-out insulation in the GFCI.
According to David Gray Online, if you have moisture in the GFCI outlet, it can cause incessant tripping. This can happen to outdoor outlets that have been exposed to rain.
It can also happen to indoor outlets in regions with a lot of humidity. Moisture will accumulate in the receptacle box. The GFCI will keep tripping until the water is removed.
If the appliances you keep plugging into the GFCI are too powerful, they can overload the GFCI by causing more current to flow through the outlet than it was designed to handle. On occasion, an overload occurs, not because the appliances are too powerful, but because of a loose or corroded connection. The GFCI will respond to the excess current by tripping.
4). GFCI Defect
If you rule out every other possible cause, you should consider the possibility that the GFCI has gone bad.
Some Other Problems Related To GFCI:
GFCI Breaker Tripping Immediately
If your GFCI trips immediately, regardless of whether or not it has something plugged into it, the GFCI is most likely defective. You should replace it. If the GFCI is fine, then it was probably not wired correctly. You need an expert that can open it to identify the source of the problem.
GFCI Keeps Tripping Breaker
The breaker in the GFCI can trip for several reasons, including a worn-out breaker, improper wiring, overloading, and a malfunction in the connected appliances, to mention but a few.
GFCI Outlet Keeps Tripping After Rain
If the GFCI is outside, the rain is introducing water to the outlet, causing a ground fault. If the GFCI is inside, you should look for a leak that allows water to enter your home whenever it rains.
If the GFCI outlet is covered to protect it from water, investigate the appliance. If the appliance has damaged jacketing, rain could introduce enough moisture to cause a short which, in turn, trips the GFCI.
GFCI Keeps Tripping In Rain
If the GFCI keeps tripping, rainwater is either infiltrating the outlet or the power cord. This can happen in situations where a homeowner has failed to add covers to exterior outlets. This can also happen if the power cord has damaged jacketing.
GFCI Trips Every Few Days
A GFCI can interpret a surge as a ground fault. This can cause it to trip. Surges are not always caused by poor wiring or a malfunction in the main power supply. You can cause surges in your home by activating a heavy-duty appliance.
Items like freezers use a lot of power when they first start. Once their power demands fall, the excess current they had drawn is redistributed throughout the circuit. This can result in a surge.
If you have heavy-duty appliances that you use once every few days, they may be responsible for the trips you encounter every few days. If surges are not the problem, check the GFCI receptacle box for moisture, debris, and insects.
GFCI Keeps Tripping For No Reason
You can blame random, unexplained tripping on moisture in the receptacle box, worn-out insulation, overloading in the circuit, and a defective GFCI. Conductive dust and debris in the outlet can also produce a ground fault.
GFCI Trips Right Away
The GFCI is either defective or has a loose connection. You should keep an eye out for worn-out or damaged insulation, not to mention water and debris in the receptacle.
GFCI Trips Randomly
The issue of a current leakage caused by old or damaged insulation causes GFCI to trip randomly.
The Places Where GFCI Can Trip
- Bathroom outlets have moisture in their vicinity. More than likely, water has infiltrated the bathroom outlet, causing a ground fault.
- If the bathroom outlet is just one among many protected by a GFCI upstream, you should consider the possibility that another appliance plugged into one of the outlets outside the bathroom is causing the GFCI to trip, depriving all the outlets of power, including the ones in the bathroom.
- Look for sources of moisture. A heavy storm can introduce water to the interior of a garage. If that water infiltrates the GFCI outlet, it will trip whenever you use it.
- Insects and other types of debris in the receptacle box can produce a similar result.
- You should also check the appliances plugged into the outlet. Large items with motors such as refrigerators have a tendency to cause nuisance tripping in GFCI outlets.
- The kitchen can expose an outlet to water and debris, resulting in a ground fault.
- If the water is not the problem, check the appliances. Fridges have a reputation for causing GFCIs to trip.
- If the fridge isn’t the problem, heavy-duty appliances like microwaves can trip a GFCI by drawing more power than it can handle. They will do this not only because they are powerful items but also because of a malfunction.
If you keep heavy-duty items such as water heaters and sump pumps in the basement, their combined load can cause either the GFCI or the circuit breaker to trip. It is also worth noting that basements are typically damp places that encourage moisture to either infiltrate or accumulate in the receptacle box, eventually resulting in a ground fault.
It is due to poor grounding or reversed polarity. A defect, malfunction, or improper wiring is causing leakage to the ground.
Common causes of tripping in this situation include a bad heating element (as well as a heating element short), loose connectors, burnt wires, and corrosion (of the electrical contacts). Naturally, if water from the tub enters the GFCI, it will trip.
The GFCI will trip because loose connections, worn insulation, moisture, contact with human skin, or some other defect has caused an electrical leak.
The appliances plugged into the GFCI, such as fridges and converters, can cause it to trip. Other potential causes include faulty wiring, loose connections, and a faulty GFCI.
Heated Floor Thermostat
The improper wiring can cause tripping in the GFCI. The issue on a short to ground as well as a conflict in the power supply circuit.