Electrical Wiring in the Home/GFCI


I heard the sound of a
GFCI overload trip last night.  This morning both bathroom GFCI's were tripped.  Nothing was plugged in to them.  
but I could not reset them. I pulled one out put a voltage tester
on it but no power to outlet at all.  Next cked the breaker box and rest all GFCI breakers but still no power to outlets.  Could the breaker have shorted out?  Any ideas?

Thanks............Steve Draves
11/25:24  1:24 PM


When you look at a normal 120-volt outlet in the United States, there are two vertical slots and then a round hole centered below them. The left slot is slightly larger than the right. The left slot is called "neutral," the right slot is called "hot" and the hole below them is called "ground." If an appliance is working properly, all electricity that the appliance uses will flow from hot to neutral. A GFCI monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral. If there is any imbalance, it trips the circuit. It is able to sense a mismatch as small as 4 or 5 milliamps, and it can react as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second.

So let's say you are outside with your power drill and it is raining. You are standing on the ground, and since the drill is wet there is a path from the hot wire inside the drill through you to ground (see How Power Distribution Grids Work for details on grounding). If electricity flows from hot to ground through you, it could be fatal. The GFCI can sense the current flowing through you because not all of the current is flowing from hot to neutral as it expects -- some of it is flowing through you to ground. As soon as the GFCI senses that, it trips the circuit and cuts off the electricity.

It is very common to put one GFCI in a bathroom and another say outside on the side on a patio, ON THE SAME CIRCUIT      

Are these GFCIs on the same circuit?   Are you sure?  You did say could the breaker have shorted out,   yes  but not likely,     failed open is more likely   simple test pull out the breaker and check continuity,  breakers do fail,     

Are you in an area where power surges  lights flickering and that kind of thing going on?

If so I would suspect a power surge and you will have to start at the beginning main checking each circuit as you go,    but the problem is likely much more simple,      

First if you KNOW which circuit or circuits are assigned to which GFCIs   test each breaker,  

At least for continuity   out of the panel,    then measure from hot to neutral at the breaker position, if there is power there,   the breaker is measuring closed,  and still no power at the outlet  check the wires that feed the GFCI at the outlet  if there is power there  the GFCI is bad,   my guess is the two are one circuit,   and one or both of the GFCIs is bad opening the circuit up at both outlets      

Take it slow and easy   make sure you have power to each breaker that feeds the GFCI  once you know you have power to the GFCI or should  and you measure behind the GFCI  and there is power there  it is the GFCI at fault,    if there is no power at the outlet     but power past the breaker,   then something opened up between the breaker and the outlet wires     that would be bad    but is there a switch anywhere     ?    Sure?   Believe me I have had more than one who were sure their wiring was fried and a switch they never used,  or was hid and never used  out of sight out of mind kind of thing,    

Make sure at both ends of the circuits there is power and correct power not some odd voltage   if there is an odd voltage look for a neutral problem   anything from a loose wire nut to a rusted off ground bar outside,       

Ill bet you find you have power past the breaker   just use your meter        on the load side    you do or don't have power,   then at the wires   and now be careful      just separate them and use one clip probe and one touch probe  check hot to neutral  if power is there the GFCI is bad    in this scenario the most likely suspect is one or both of the GFCIs  

But check for loose wire nuts  get a GOOD flashlight   look in the boxes for any signs of black like a carbon track  those can come from things like a loose wire nut, causing a high resistance connection  then actually heating to a burn        look closely     but trust me  look for the simple problem     we all get over excited on stuff like this  and even the best will overlook the obvious,          need more help you can use my private email,     and write me back regardless,    I want to know how you are getting along and what you found,  then IF you dont find it  and I bet you do,       you can tell me and everyone else what it was so that helps them         let me know,  
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Will Babbitt


Electrical issues of all types, wiring, control, appliances, components, specialty in Electric MOTOR or APPARATUS trouble shooting, electric motors, electrical problems, single phase, three phase, DC, capacitors, elevator MG-Sets, modifications, reverse engineering, VFD Drives, single to three phase convertors. Repair of most any electrical/mechanical/electronic apparatus, OEM, AC, DC, Industrial Applications, Three phase, single phase failure mode, determining the root cause of the equipment failure BEFORE failure repeats, Antique appliances, electric motors, fans, ceiling fans, base mount fans, poor equipment performance, Modifications, habitual failures, vibration, redesign, obsolete issues, collectible items restored, rewinding. Owner of EMR Repair Inc www.emrrepair.com More information on electric motors, under Engineering/Motors Ask about any electrical or mechanical problems in the home, office, or even at your work. B2B or business to business CONSULTING I can do but it would be a much more complex issue, that would require a significant amount of time. repair@mearservice.com from there we can discuss and begin work on about anything. Industrial electric motors, controls, troubleshooting, vibration, alignment, any type of industrial or commercial electric/electrcical equipment For the home owner, renter, apartment if you have odd things going on, describe to me, photos are normally very helpful, appliances, heating and air conditioning issues, light switches, installation, DIY PROJECTS FOR THOSE NOT EDUCATED IN ELECTRICAL, we can do some things, but for safety and sanity reasons, I may refer you to a local electrician, and help you find one, help you with pricing and even speak directly with anyone you hire if you have issues,


Over thirty years with a major repair and sales company, VP of Operations, and former owner of my own specialty repair shops, MEAR Services local to Kansas City Missouri EMR Repair Inc., located in Kansas City Missouri, 2014 sold both businesses to JCI Industries, Lee's Summit Missouri wbabbitt@jciind.com Evaluation and repair of electrical/mechanical apparatus. Electrical and mechanical repairs, trouble shooting including, vibration and balance issues. About.com provides this service, and the huge costs to provide help on about any subject. They provide the servers, the people to vet the experts, costs that would be the same as operating a good sized business, They should be appreciated for what they do, the huge costs and the great help they provide for free, Electric motor questions, can be answered here but there is a dedicated category that has other experts to help and add to a solution. Other common questions, are noises in the walls, breakers tripping, devices not starting or shutting down for no apparent reason, smoke alarms buzzing, thermostat change outs, or sizing wire or needing information for a new project, but anything can be resolved, anything, with enough effort and patience, DIY, with electrical is possible, but in most cases the use of a simple ohm meter or volt meter is needed, they can be purchased at any hardware store for a few bucks. If you have smoke, or smell smoke, don't be writing me, call 911 the Fire Department has no problem looking for smoke smells, better then spraying water on a blazing fire. DO NOT GET CAUGHT INVESTIGATING AND TRAPPED IN A BASEMENT LOOKING FOR A BLOWER FAILING< As to the tip jar, it is up to you, it is appreciated, every expert spends out of pocket that I know, we spend on IP time, computer wear, printing documents, books, and of course our time, but if we prevent a $400 service call, we did well,

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10 plus years, various Technical Schools, followed by Industrial College Credit and non Credit Courses, electronics courses, experience in most any electrical apparatus, electric motors and generators, AC OR DC, fractional to above 5000HP, other electrical apparatus, slip rings, sleeve [plain] bearings, lubrication, identification-no data plate, control components, service and sales. I have continued night schools for decades, the list is extensive. I have been in the business of repairing most anything with wires or mechanical parts for decades, I have some helpful hints and directions you won't have to dig up. Or hopefully not have to pay a huge service call invoice to find.

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