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Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: JHZR2] #4777233 06/04/18 11:54 AM
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brianl703 Offline
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Electrical code now requires GFCI for sump pump outlet.

New house, GFCI for sump pump occasionally tripped, maybe once every couple of months.

One day it tripped, I didn't notice until the walk-up basement stairwell had 2" of standing water in it.

I reset GFCI and later replaced it with one that has an alarm that will sound when it trips.

The replacement has never tripped and it's been at least 6 months since I installed it. I think there are differences in how the different brands of GFCIs are immune to nuisance tripping.

By the way, when that basement stairwell has 2" of water in it, there is a LOT of water in the foundation drains. The sump pump ran continuously for almost 30 minutes to get rid of it all.



Last edited by brianl703; 06/04/18 11:55 AM.
Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: westom] #4782123 06/09/18 09:53 AM
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JHZR2 Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: westom
Dehumidifier must not generate a start pulse - if properly manufactured.

....

Even if the lamp and dehumidifier are 100 feet apart and still on the same circuit breaker, then are (electrically) same as if 3 feet apart.


Dehumidifier is a Santa Fe; a well-established brand/model.

They are NOT on the same breaker. Dehumidifier is even split onto a separate sub panel. Closest that could be said is maybe the same half of the split phase in the main panel.

Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: brianl703] #4783797 06/11/18 10:24 AM
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bmwpowere36m3 Offline
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Originally Posted By: brianl703
Electrical code now requires GFCI for sump pump outlet.

New house, GFCI for sump pump occasionally tripped, maybe once every couple of months.

One day it tripped, I didn't notice until the walk-up basement stairwell had 2" of standing water in it.

I reset GFCI and later replaced it with one that has an alarm that will sound when it trips.

The replacement has never tripped and it's been at least 6 months since I installed it. I think there are differences in how the different brands of GFCIs are immune to nuisance tripping.

By the way, when that basement stairwell has 2" of water in it, there is a LOT of water in the foundation drains. The sump pump ran continuously for almost 30 minutes to get rid of it all.




Same happened to me.... switched the circuit over to a regular one and haven't had a problem since.

Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: bmwpowere36m3] #4783963 06/11/18 01:28 PM
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westom Offline
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Originally Posted By: bmwpowere36m3
Same happened to me.... switched the circuit over to a regular one and haven't had a problem since.

A classic and irresponsible example of curing symptoms. That GFCI was reporting a serious human safety issue. So we killed the messenger - removed a GFCI. Left the threat to human life in place. And then played mind games to justify that change.

Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: westom] #4783981 06/11/18 01:51 PM
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brianl703 Offline
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Originally Posted By: westom

A classic and irresponsible example of curing symptoms. That GFCI was reporting a serious human safety issue. So we killed the messenger - removed a GFCI. Left the threat to human life in place. And then played mind games to justify that change.


GFCIs can trip for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with a ground fault. In every case where I had a GFCI that tripped for no apparent cause, I replaced it with another one and that resolved the problem.

The rationale, incidentally, behind the requirement that sump pumps be on a GFCI is that someone might use the sump pump receptacle to power other loads.

A hardwired sump pump, if such a thing exists, would not be required to be on a GFCI.

Did those who pushed the code requirement that sump pump outlets be GFCI ever consider how much of a human safety issue is it when a basement floods because the sump pump GFCI nuisance-trips and nobody deals with it before that GFCI and other electrical equipment in the basement is submerged in water?

Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: brianl703] #4784023 06/11/18 02:41 PM
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westom Offline
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Originally Posted By: brianl703

Did those who pushed the code requirement that sump pump outlets be GFCI ever consider how much of a human safety issue is it when a basement floods because the sump pump GFCI nuisance-trips ...

When one does not know how to fix a problem, then one invents "nuisance-trips". Every trip has an electrical reason why. That reason why is a greatest threat exists when skin can get wet. Sump pump, that was only rumored to be good, was leaking current in a dangerous manner. A GFCI reported that defect.

Unfortunately some electricians do not even know how to solve this. So they say that GFCI is not necessary. Then the homeowner pays for a solution that solved nothing. Then a homeowner does not know some electricians do not and need not know how electricity works. Electricians are only required to know what must connect to what. Code only teaches what is required for human safety - not how electricity works.

The GFCI is reporting a defect. The naive invent an excuse called "nuisance tripping". The informed consumer first finds and then later fixes that defect.

GFCI is reporting a human safety issue. Solve the problem - not its symptoms. And yes. Every time I was involved, a nuisance trip was always traced to some defect. Every time.

Last edited by westom; 06/11/18 02:41 PM.
Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: JHZR2] #4784025 06/11/18 02:44 PM
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I can make a GFCI trip just by keying up a radio transmitter next to it.

The fact is, GFCIs are built to be CHEAP and can and do trip due to induced current on the wires from external sources (lightning, radio transmitters), movement (yes, a GFCI can trip due to mechanical shock or torsion/twisting of it's body--seen that more than a few times), problems with the electronic circuitry inside (resistors/capacitors change value due to (1) component aging and (2) not being very high quality parts to start with), exposure to outdoor conditions (even when installed with a weatherproof cover--GFCIs installed outdoors seem to die an early death, indicated by tripping without being able to be reset).

Note that I am talking about GFCI RECEPTACLES.

I would expect GFCI breakers to be a higher-quality product. But they are rarely used because they cost more and are not as convenient to reset.

Last edited by brianl703; 06/11/18 02:57 PM.
Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: brianl703] #4784039 06/11/18 02:54 PM
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westom Offline
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Originally Posted By: brianl703
I can make a GFCI trip just by keying up a radio transmitter next to it.

Good. Symptom has been described. Now define the anomaly. Define the defect - electrical current paths - that forced that GFCI to trip.

The informed will then fix a defect that causes a symptom. How did you first identify and later fix what is clearly a defect?

Last edited by westom; 06/11/18 03:03 PM.
Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: JHZR2] #4784050 06/11/18 03:08 PM
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brianl703 Offline
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Why bother? I'm not the one who engineered the RFI (radio frequency interference) susceptible GFCI. I cannot correct the internal design flaw that causes a particular GFCI to trip in the presence of a strong RF signal.

There are three solutions to the problem:

1)Replace the GFCI with another one that may, hopefully, be better engineered such that it won't trip due to RFI.

2)Remove sources of RFI from the immediate environment of the GFCI (either by relocating the GFCI or the source of RFI)

3)Do away with the GFCI entirely.

Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: brianl703] #4784061 06/11/18 03:21 PM
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westom Offline
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Originally Posted By: brianl703
Why bother?

That is the entire point. One has no idea how this electricity works. Solution is to even violate well proven and required codes for human safety - to justify ignorance.

The OP requested replies from the fewer who actually know this stuff. An informed answer would define a current from that transmitter, through a perfectly good GFCI, that is tripping that GFCI. Rationalization, using wild speculation and subjective reasaoning, also invents "nuisance tripping" myth.

GFCI is reporting a defect. GFCI for a sump pump trips because a defect exists. Solve the problem; never cure symptoms.

Where does a defect more likely exist? In the transmitter.

Last edited by westom; 06/11/18 03:22 PM.
Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: westom] #4784063 06/11/18 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted By: westom
Originally Posted By: bmwpowere36m3
Same happened to me.... switched the circuit over to a regular one and haven't had a problem since.

A classic and irresponsible example of curing symptoms. That GFCI was reporting a serious human safety issue. So we killed the messenger - removed a GFCI. Left the threat to human life in place. And then played mind games to justify that change.


Don't stick your finger in the sump pit with the power on...

I'm all for GFCI and have them as code requires, but for a sump pump I don't see the benefit and/or risk. I have a higher chance getting zapped on a light switch which is not GFCI protected.

Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: JHZR2] #4784069 06/11/18 03:40 PM
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That is just one example of many of how a GFCI can trip with no identifiable cause (you cannot, after all, see RFI, and if the RFI is a transient source, such as a truck passing by with a linear amp on their CB radio, you may never know that is what caused the trip).

Consider my sump pump. Here I have a GFCI that tripped every couple of months. Reset it and it's fine until it trips again a couple months later. Am I to believe that my sump pump somehow has an intermittent ground fault that only happens every couple of months? That is, the sump pump has a ground fault that then clears up for the next 2 months as soon as I press the reset button?

I can't even imagine how it would be possible to have such an intermittent ground fault, considering that the GFCI is located right next to the sump pump so that the only possible sources of a ground fault are the sump pump motor and it's cord. Inspection of the cord revealed no problems (as would be expected, being less than a year old). The only way I can see a sump pump motor developing a ground fault is if water got inside, which would result in a ground fault until the water dried out, which isn't going to happen when the pump is submerged.

Since I could not find a cause for the GFCI tripping, I did what I have done other times when I could not identify the cause of the GFCI trip: Replace the GFCI.

As with the other times I have done so, the replacement GFCI corrected the problem.

Conclusion: There was an internal problem with the GFCI that caused it to trip when it should not have tripped.

Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: bmwpowere36m3] #4784074 06/11/18 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted By: bmwpowere36m3
I have a higher chance getting zapped on a light switch which is not GFCI protected.

Classic rationalizing. If standing where skin is wet, then that light switch also must be on a GFCI. And the switch is also safety (equipment) grounded. That is required human safety - twice over.

Touch a sump pump case with wet hands and that pump must not threaten human life. That sump pump's GFCI is reporting a human safety defect. Instead, one invents "nuisance tripping" to justify "kill the messenger" - remove that GFCI. Irresponsible rationalizing that unnecessarily threatens human life. Because one does not know how to solve problems - only knows how to cure symptoms.

Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: westom] #4784076 06/11/18 03:42 PM
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brianl703 Offline
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Originally Posted By: westom


Where does a defect more likely exist? In the transmitter.


Nope. The transmitter is doing exactly what it's supposed to: Put RF energy into an antenna.

That the RF energy causes a GFCI to trip means that the problem is in the GFCI.

(Note that the transmitter is NOT powered through the GFCI, and in this case, was running off batteries).

Re: GFCI weirdness [Re: JHZR2] #4784430 06/11/18 09:49 PM
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now let me ask this.. would the "problems" that GFCI have also be applied to AFCI outlets?

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