GFCI Outlet Keeps Popping
LESLIE: Next up, we have an electrical question from Steve in Kentucky.
Steve, how can we help?
STEVE: I have a GFCI outlet in my bathroom. I’ve got two of them.
STEVE: And one of them keeps popping but it’s sporadic. OK, it doesn’t do it all the time. It’ll pop with nothing plugged into it.
TOM: OK, we have to presume that it’s doing its job. Do you know what GFCI stands for, Steve?
STEVE: Yes, they’re ground fault circuit interrupters.
TOM: Right. And if it’s popping, it means it’s detecting a ground fault in the circuit and therefore interrupting that fault and that’s what it’s supposed to do. So my first thought is that something is arcing or sparking in that circuit. Does that outlet only control itself or does it control other outlets in your house? Because sometimes, especially in a bathroom outlet, it could be wired to other outlets in other bathrooms.
STEVE: I couldn’t tell you if there’s anything else on the circuit or not.
TOM: If the ground fault outlet trips, are there any other outlets that are dead at the same time?
STEVE: Not that I’ve noticed, no.
TOM: OK. What I’d like you to do is to try to confirm that; this way we know we’re only talking about a standalone outlet. And if it’s just by itself, I want you to replace the ground fault outlet. Replace it and see if it happens again. If it happens again, I’m concerned there could be something else going on somewhere else in the circuit. It could be anywhere between that outlet and the electrical panel. And at that point, you need to have an electrician trace it out. Alright, Steve?
STEVE: That seems easy enough. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.