gfi

empjrJune 7, 2011

A 12 AWG circuit in my house has a 20A breaker in the panel and a 15A GFI in the first outlet on the circuit. There is no wet area outlet or appliance on that circuit and the GFI breaks whenever the house lights flicker when lightning strikes in this general area. The only load on that circuit is a 75 watt lamp plugged into the GFI wall outlet, 3-24 watt CFL ceiling light bulbs, and a recept that powers a TV, DVD recorder/player, and satellite TV receiver. Why would that circuit need a 15A GFI in that first recept?

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kurto

It doesn't matter what is plugged into the GFI circuit, but rather where the outlets are located. Are any of the outlets on that circuit in the kitchen, garage, out on the porch, in an unfinished basement or bathrooms? My guess is that you have one of the items listed above, and someone installed the GFI in a convenient location "upstream" of the outlet that requires the protection.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 8:41PM
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texasredhead

The situation you describe is often done in ungrounded systems. Also sounds like it is acting as a surge protector.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 7:52AM
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brickeyee

"Also sounds like it is acting as a surge protector."

Possibly purely by accident.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 9:13AM
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empjr

Thanks for the advice guys, I guess I need to do some more investigation on the circuit. I thought I had traced out all the outlets but maybe I missed something. I'm almost certain that there are no outlets in a wet area or branches off of the main cable on that circuit that could go outside the house. Another question, do GFI breakers ever go bad, or could this one just be defective? I suppose I could find that out myself by replacing it with a new one, this time a 20A. If I don't find anything I missed before that might be the problem and a new GFI doesn't do the trick, a call to a local electrician may be in order.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 11:39AM
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kurto

Yes, they sometimes go bad, as do most electrical components. I had several fail last summer due to nearby lightning strikes.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 7:08PM
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