When your gfci keeps tripping

You’re stepping out of the morning shower. The overhead heat lamp begins generating warmth. Your wife’s curling iron is plugged-in on the counter. When she enters the room and flips the switch on her hairdryer, that’s it.

Every appliance on that circuit is off. It’s not the first time this has happened, so you know it’s time to correct the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) problem.

GFCI devices have saved lives and property. When your GFCI keeps tripping, it’s a heads-up. One engineer calls this “nuisance tripping.” But don’t let the word “nuisance” reduce the importance of this protective feature.

Since the expansion of the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) requirements to include single-phase receptacles up to 50A and three-phase receptacles up to 100A, we’ve seen a trend of increased GFCI nuisance tripping…Henderson Engineers

If the GFCI keeps tripping, there’s likely an equipment or wiring issue. Never ignore this nuisance.

Why Your GFCI Keeps Tripping

Have you ever pondered a social problem and wondered, “Why doesn’t somebody do something?” Every year there are as many as 400 home-related electrocutions. The GFCI is one solution to that problem, thanks to Charles Dalziel. In 1965, Dalziel patented his ground fault circuit interrupter “to prevent a lethal dose of electricity, specifically before the electricity can affect your heartbeat.”

A GFCI outlet measures power. It was designed to react quickly if there is a surge of 4-5 milliamps (a very small variable). It shuts down the circuit as a safety measure.

When a GFCI keeps tripping, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. Before calling your local Valley electrician, try this:

  1. Unplug all the appliances on the GFCI circuit.
  2. Reset your GFCI (It’s usually the red button).
  3. One-by-one, plug-in and turn-on each appliance. If one appliance trips the GFCI, that’s your problem. It’s the appliance and your local electrician can’t repair your hairdryer (or coffeepot, electric skillet, etc.)
  4. Every appliance works fine but your GFCI keeps tripping. The problem could be:
    • Bad GFCI circuit – These are complex, highly responsive devices. They wear out or can be damaged. If this is the problem, call your electrician.
    • Overloaded circuit – Reset the circuit on your fuse box and do the plug-in/turn-on test again but this time leave your appliances plugged-in. If it trips again, you may need a dedicated circuit to manage that particular area. Call your Phoenix electrician.

Pima, Maricopa Counties’ Residential & Commercial Electrician

Turn It On Electric professionals have served The Valley for over 25 years. That means we’re invested in this area. We’re invested in you.

Safety is our primary motivation, followed by high-quality workmanship and continuing technical education. When TIO electricians discuss your problem by phone, we won’t pressure you to schedule an inspection (or a free quote) unless your family or property is at-risk.

Never let money jeopardize your property’s safety. If your electrical project can wait, we’ll tell you. But if you need electrical work now, we’ll connect you with affordable, flexible financing that works with your budget.

We have experience in commercial and residential landscape lighting, security systems, and more. If you have questions about your GFCI circuitry or are planning electrical upgrades this year, contact TIO Electric.

Every time a light turns on, thank an electrician. When it doesn’t, call Turn It On!®

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