To prevent nuisance tripping of GFCI outlets, due to rain or sprinkler system water intrusion and interference, practice the following:
1. Keep all lights, especially net lights, from touching the ground. Cords are okay, but not the cord connections or lights.
2. Wrap tape around all cord to cord connections, or better, faster and easier, install sandwich baggies over these connections with a single wrap of tape to seal the end. In addition, do not lay these connections on the ground. The same for the timers and 3-way cord connectors. Hang these connections over a bush or tree limb to keep from touching the ground.
3. If the outlets the lights are plugged into are already on photocell control operation do not use the timers, as this is just one more place water can get into. The lights will turn off when the photocell turns all other entry lights off.
4. If the GFCI trips with lights plugged in, but will reset when no lights are plugged in, the problem is in the lights or there is a problem with the installation.
5. GFCI's will only reset, when the power is on. So, if the power is off due to the photocell, cover the photocell, when power energizes the circuit the GFCI will respond to resetting.
6. If the GFCI resets, but trips when the lights are plugged in, try unplugging half of the lights. If the GFCI holds at this point, you have narrowed down the problem to the last of the set of lights. The remaining isolation and removal can be achieved by plugging in one set at a time until the GFCI trips again.
7. If the GFCI resets, but trips when the lights are plugged in, try unplugging half of the lights. If it still trips, unplug the entire set, take a good extension cord to the halfway point and plug in the latter part of the set of lights, leaving the front or closer section out of the system. If the GFCI holds at this point you have narrowed down the problem to the front portion of the lights. At this point start backing up with your extension cord adding a set of lights at a time or narrow down by quarters.
We hope these steps will rectify the problems you have been experiencing and prevent any future nuisances.
What you can do if your garage, outside and bathroom or kitchen receptacle outlets do not work, but all other lights and outlets work.
If any or all of these outlets are without power you have a GFCI outlet or GFCI circuit breaker either tripped or inoperable.
These outlet are easily distinguishable as they have a test and reset button on them.
While conventional circuit breakers are designed to protect wiring only, these GFCI devices are intended to protect humans from electrocution.
So, while they offer added protection, they are also more sensitive to failure. This is why they should be tested from time to time.
But, they may just also be doing there job when found tripped. An outlet on the outside maybe getting water in it from the sprinkler system or rain.
In older homes all of these outlets share the same protection, GFCI outlet or GFCI circuit breaker, so there may be only one device for all of these.
In newer homes the bathroom outlets are separate from the garage and outside, so there will be more than one of these GFCI devices.
In all homes with GFCI protection the kitchen outlets should always be on a separate GFCI, located at a countertop receptacle outlet or by a GFCI circuit breaker.
The GFCI circuit breaker is also distinguishable from all other circuit breakers with a separate test button right on the circuit breaker.
In the newest homes all living areas will also have arch fault circuit breaker protection with a test button on the circuit breaker to protect these areas.
A. Locate the GFCI device on one of these outlets and try to reset the device. If the GFCI resets, try to locate which outlet may have caused the trip. An outlet on the outside maybe getting water in it from the sprinkler system or from rain, especially if one of the covers is left open.
B. If the GFCI device will not reset, it nay be damaged, At this point the GFCI device needs to be replaced.
If it is a GFCI receptacle outlet one must have a meter to check for power into the outlet. The power wires feeding the circuit must go to the line side of the device, while the other wires, or wires feeding the next outlet, terminate on the load side of the GFCI device. These line and load side terminals are clearly marked on all GFCI outlets.
Incorrect wiring of these devices will prevent these outlets from operating. So, if you are unsure of the hot to line side terminals and supply wires to load side terminals, do not attempt this repair.
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