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GFCI Wiring Problems: 5 Problems & Solutions

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

You installed a GFCI breaker in your house. Wondering whether it’ll work or not? Even if it doesn’t, we got your back! There are a lot of issues when it comes to GFCI wirings. And we have a bunch of useful solutions.

What are the gfci wiring problems?

There are a few problems with GFCI wiring. The wires are really weak and often wear and tear. The black wire might be touching the ground. Also, the circuit might have a defect. Sometimes a simple replacement can fix the issues. But sometimes you need to change the wiring in the circuit. 

For a better understanding of the problems, dive down below. Where we have prepared this whole article about GFCI wiring.

Let’s start!

What Is GFCI?

GFCI is a type of outlet which prevents you from getting in touch with electricity. When there is a leak, the GFCI stops the flow of the electricity. It has a circuit breaker inside of it. The full meaning of GFCI is ground fault circuit interrupter. 

A GFCI outlet will not work unless it’s connected. Its main purpose is to shut off electricity when there is a ground fault in the connection. It notices a leak as small as 0.005 amps. 

This will make sure you do not get electrocuted. When there is a leak of electricity. But you must know, it does not protect you from circuit overload or short circuits.

What Are The Problems With GFCI Wiring?

Even though the GFCI outlets main goal is to prevent any leakage of electricity. It’s common for a GFCI to be troublesome. There are a few problems with GFCI wiring. If you do not wire the GFCI properly, it will not work. 

A GFCI can also be annoying when it is not working. 

We’ve written down the problems of GFCI wiring below and given their solutions. 

The wire is Worn Out 

Anything used for an extensive period of time can cause wear and tear. An overused GFCI outlet will also lose its usability. 

Overuse of the outlet will shorten its lifespan. Also, plugging heavy appliances will put pressure on the outlet. Wear and tear in the outlet will cause the GFCI outlet to trip. 

Solution

To solve the wire and tear of a GFCI wiring, you need to replace the GFCI outlet. 

Also, using higher gauges of wire will let the GFCI take a higher load of electricity. This will make sure the GFCI withstands heavy usage. 

Wire Is Touching The Ground 

If the live wires are touching the ground, it will make the GFCI trip. The live wires are the black and white wires which connect with the GFCI. 

To check if the wires are touching the ground. You need to open the outlet and see if the wires are touching the ground wire. 

If you don’t see it, take the wires out and check with the ohmmeter. To see if there is still electricity running through the GFCI. If so, then the GFCI will not function. 

Solution

If the black wire is touching the ground, then there is a leak in the circuit. This will cause the GFCI to trip often. 

To fix this, you need to rewire your circuit. It means you need to see if there is a tear in the wire which connects with the GFCI. Pulling all the wires out and rewiring the whole circuit from the panel will fix the issue. 

Or you can use a circuit breaker protector. It’ll keep all the water and dirt away from live wire. In case you’re looking for one, here are some good recommendations for circuit breaker protectors-

Product 1Product 2

Circuit Is Defective

GFCI outlets are often interconnected. This causes a problem in the circuit if you don’t have a system of wiring, it can be annoying when there is a defect. 

This is why when one GFCI outlet trips, it will cause losing power to other outlets to others as well. There are load and line types of wiring in the GFCI. Keep a system where you understand these wires. 

Solution

Check all the GFCI plugs in your house. After that, discard the broken GFCI ports. After  removing them, make pigtails for the hot wires. Make pigtails of the white wires as well. After doing so, you should connect all of the wires to the line terminal. 

The black wires have to be connected to the brass line terminals. And on the other side, the white wires need to be connected to the silver line terminals. 

By doing so it will fix the problem. 

Area Is Wet

Water is a conductive material. The water around any electrical wiring is not a good idea. So, the safety of the outdoor cords should be given more attention.

Areas where the sink, dishwashers are riskier than others. Exterior GFCI ports can get wet as well. 

Too much humidity can cause problems as well.

Solution

To reduce moisture near the appliance and the outlet, check if you can change the outlet’s location. Also, installing a weatherproof cover plate at the receptacle may be helpful.

GFCI Device Is Defective

Nothing lasts forever. Usually, a GFCI operates for 5 to 10 years without any problems. But some can be broken out of the box. 

Solution

If the GFCI broke out of the box, see if you can get a free replacement. If it’s within the warranty period, you should be able to get a free replacement on the GFCI. 

Also, the best thing to do is check all the outlets every month and replace them every 5 years. This will make sure the GFCI will not cause any false trips. 

Things To Keep In Head While Wiring GFCI

Wiring the GFCI properly in the first place can solve a lot of the problems. You need to understand the GFCI features. This will make sure you know which wire goes where. 

In the front, you’ll see two switches marked as, reset and test. The reset switch is the “ON” switch. And the test switch is the “OFF” switch. Also, there are LED indicator lights, self-grounding clips, and mounting brackets. On the top and bottom. In the back, all your wires will get connected and that is the important part. 

You’ll find hot wires going on one side, which should be labeled. And white wire going another side, which should be labeled as well. Also, there’ll be two types of connections on each side. Load and line. The load terminals will be covered with yellow tape. Don’t rip the tape off. 

On the bottom, there is an important part. The ground wire will go at the bottom labeled as, grounding terminal. Keep in mind that this function will be difficult without any ground wire.

All these are important parts of GFCI. Wires must connect to each designated place. Otherwise, the gfci will not function.

FAQs

Question: Is it true that the GFCI will not work without a ground wire?

Answer: It’ll work, but it will not have ground and will not work upon the ground fault. Because the excess electricity will have no place to pass by if the ground is not connected. 

Question: On a GFCI breaker, how many wires can I connect?

Answer: normally GFCI breakers are designed for only one conductor. But some designs do work for more than one connection. 

Question: Can I wire and power a GFCI port from another regular outlet?

Answer: Yes you can. GFCI can power from another outlet. As long as the outlet is not a lighting outlet.

Endnote 

So that’s all from our end. Hope we were able to clear all your confusion about the gfci wiring problems

Do stay safe when you are working with electricity. If you are feeling nervous, do take help from professionals. 

Until next time, see you!