GFCI outlet Keeps Tripping: Find out the Causes and How to Resolve It.

Ground fault circuit interrupters protect against electric shock. If your own gfci outlet keeps tripping, read on to find out why.

A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) trips when it detects a ground fault, or current leakage even as little as 5mA between the hot and ground wire.

When the gfci detects the leakage current, it trips to protect you and the appliances plugged into the outlet.

The National Electrical Code recommends GFCI installation in every home, mostly in the bathroom and kitchen, to prevent electrocution and damage to appliances.

Related post: How to Install a GFCI Outlet in your Bathroom and Kitchen

What causes a GFCI outlet to keep tripping?

A gfci device trips for so many reasons such as:

Ground faults

Ground faults occur when currents take an unintended path to the ground. Or when a hot wire touches the earth. When the ground fault occurs, currents leak to the ground.

The function of the GFCI receptacle is to detect when currents flow through an unintended path, which may be water or human.

Once the receptacle detects the current leakage, even as little as 0.005 amps, it shuts down.

This ground fault protection from the GFCI device helps protect us from electrical shock.

Related post: Circuit breaker keeps tripping without load. Causes and how to resolve them.

Causes of ground fault

  • Faulty wiring
  • Water touching the outlets or any naked cable.
  • Worn out insulation.

Consult a qualified electrician to find the cause of the breaker trip.

Overload Circuit 

Circuit overload occurs when you plug more appliances into a circuit than it can carry. Normally, a GFCL outlet handles between 15 and 20 amps. When you plug-in devices that draw more current than required, it trips the gfci.

Many things can cause circuit overload, including defective appliances, rusted wires, permanently installed electric motors, and others.

To see if the load is causing the tripping issues, do:

  • Unplug the appliances plugged into the electrical outlet.
  • Reset the gfci by pressing the reset button and wait for a few minutes to see if it will go off again. If it does, other faults may be responsible, but if it doesn’t trip, suspect the load.
  • Plug back the appliances and watch if it goes off again. If it is the load that is causing the tripping, reduce it.

Wet receptacles

Since water is an excellent conductor of electricity, it can cause your outlet to trip. A wet receptacle can allow currents to flow through it to the ground, leading to loss of current.

This loss can vary the amount of currents going in and out of the circuit. Thus causing your GFCI to trip.

Electrical fault

If your GFCI breaker continues to go off, there may be an electrical issue arising from wrong connection.

Faulty connections can cause a current to leak to the ground, leading to a ground fault.

Faulty GFCI outlet

If, after trying the above methods, the GFCI still trips, replace the receptacle box with a new gfci.

You can buy a new outlet here@ Amazon

Call a licensed electrician to replace the outlet to avoid faulty connections.

You can also contact us at mariaelectrical.com to troubleshoot and replace the outlets for you.

How to troubleshoot and fix a tripping ground fault circuit interrupter (gfci)

Here are some steps you can take to fix a tripping GFCI:

Check the appliances

Unplug all the appliances connected to the GFCI and check if any part or wire is bad. A damaged wire or device can short circuit, causing the outlet to trip. If there is fault, change or replace the wire.

Check for overload

A GFCI can only handle a certain amount of electrical load. If you have too many appliances or devices connected to the outlet, it may trip. Try unplugging some devices and see if that fixes the problem.

Look for loose connection or bad wiring

Remove the plate cover from your outlet and inspect the wire connection. Make sure that the wiring is OK. And there is no loose connection or burnt wire.

If you are not familiar with wiring, call an electrician to inspect the wiring.

Check for moisture

GFCIs outlets trip when they detect moisture or water, make sure the environment is dry. If it is wet, clean it with dryer so that it will not conduct electricity.

Test and reset the gfci outlet

Press the “Test” button on the outlet to trip it. Then press the “Reset” button to restore power. If it trips again, the GFCI may need to be replaced.

Need an electrician? Contact mariaelectricals

Mariaelectricals offers a range of electrical services and inspection. We have professionally trained and licenced electricians for your electrical work.

If your gfci outlet is constantly tripping, contact us lets shedule an appointment.

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About mariaelectricals

Hi, I am Emmanuel Nwankwo, a commercial electrician and the founder of mariaelectricals.com. I established this blog to share my decades of work experience in electrical installations and repairs.