Electrical Wiring in the Home/outlets/circuit breaker problem

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Question
Hello Greg, I appreciate your time and attention. We have several outlets and overhead lights not working. I have replaced three circuit breakers (finally bought a tester to check for current), the one I thought was bad, the one my husband thought was bad and the one the always tripped when these outlets went out before. Every circuit breaker in the box shows current except this last one. It has a GFI(?) and trips whenever I touch the tester to it. I found the first "dead" outlet in the garage, the one closest to the breaker box, and replaced that outlet thinking that might be defective and stopping flow past it. Still no current to several outlets. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you, Diane

Answer
The two most common problems would be:

1) The gfi is not working correctly and needs to be replaced.
2) There is a short circuit on the gfi protected circuit.

Other problems could be that the neutral and hot got reversed somewhere down the line, someone put this on a multiple circuit (meaning that this circuit shares a neutral with another circuit), or you could have an appliance plugged in that is causing the breaker to trip.


What happens when you put your tester on the breaker is a load is applied to the breaker, a very small load. GFI breakers are real sensitive and it is possible that yours is too sensitive due to the many times it has tripped.

It sounds like changing the gfi breaker is in order. If it has been tripping it means that the breaker is weaker now and should be replaced.

If the problem persists with a new gfi breaker your circuit will need to be examined. At that point you should call in a qualified electrician because there are many things that could be causing this problem.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Greg Hughes

Expertise

Troubleshooting electrical including appliances and HVAC.

Experience

34 years of experience.

Education/Credentials
Both college and tech schools in this field.

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