GFCI Tripping constantly

I woke up this morning, took a shower. When I went to shave I noticed that the GFCI receptacle in my bathroom had tripped. I pushed the "RESET" button back in but it immediately popped back out. Tried it about 10 more times...kept happening. I remember reading on this NG years ago about this, and so I checked the "downstream" receptacle - which I'm assuming is just the other bathroom in my house which is adjacent to this one on the opposite wall (if that makes sense). That is not a GFCI receptacle, but it must be downstream of the GFCI in my bathroom because there is no longer any power to that receptacle either.
There is nothing plugged in anymore to either of these outlets, yet the GFCI keeps tripping. My guess is, the GFCI has gone bad - it is most likely 20 years old, as my house is 20 years old and I'm the 2nd owner (been here about 4 years), and the receptacle quite frankly looks old (if that is of any relevance).
So how should I proceed? I have knowledge of electrical safety (ie, how not to get electrocuted, and how to use a meter). I also have basic wiring skills/tools, so my thought to was to buy a new GFCI and install it. However, there is one thing I'm concerned about:
Yesterday the wife and I put up all of the Christmas lights outside. And of course right afterward, here in the Philadelphia area, it started raining and has ever since. So I'm concerned that perhaps the christmas lights (the standard series-wired little bulb things) are somehow playing into this. If not, then it's just odd coincidence? Those lights are not connected to the GFCI and are not "downstream" so I don't see how they could affect it. Come to think of it, I need to go check to make sure those still work - I haven't plugged them in yet today.
For the time being - how should I troubleshoot this? Should I just go ahead and replace the GFCI receptacle?
Thanks in advance.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You answered your own question. It's the outdoor lights, or probably a cord still plugged into an outdoor receptacle that's causing the GFCI to trip.
Downstream from a bathroom GFCI receptacle are typically: other bathroom receptacles, outdoor receptacle(s) and a garage receptacle.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have a outdoor receptical and when it rains hard the water gets into the plug and keeps tripping my GFCI, I have a portable air tank and blow it out and thats that.
Tom

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Did the outdoor lights work when the GFI blew? If not, you found your answer. If so, then keep looking. Find another outlet somewhere that is not working when the GFI was tripped. Maybe a 1/2 bath on another floor, another outdoor outlet, an outlet in a laundry room.....
Don't assume the GFI is bad until you have exhausted the possibilities that it is just doing it's job.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The outdoor lights do still work, so they are not downstream of the GFCI. I will keep investigating but I think it is just the two upstairs bathrooms that are in the GFCI "loop".
mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mark:
M > I woke up this morning, took a shower. When I went to shave I noticed that M > the GFCI receptacle in my bathroom had tripped. I pushed the "RESET" button M > back in but it immediately popped back out. Tried it about 10 more
Does this GFCI also power the outlet(s) for your outdoor Christmas lights? If the lights work and your GFCI doesn't then that's not the problem site. If the lights are also shut off then unplugging the lights may or may not solve the problem: rainwater could have gotten into the outlet box.
M > times...kept happening. I remember reading on this NG years ago about this, M > and so I checked the "downstream" receptacle - which I'm assuming is just M > the other bathroom in my house which is adjacent to this one on the opposit
M > wall (if that makes sense). That is not a GFCI receptacle, but it must be M > downstream of the GFCI in my bathroom because there is no longer any power M > to that receptacle either.
OK, so we have 'proved' the outlet in the other bathroom is powered from the GFCI in your bathroom. Outlets downstream are protected by the one GFCI and are usually regular outlets. (Hopefully while you are experiencing this problem you are mapping the circuits and posting it by the service panel. Two years from now when someone is in the adjacent bathroom and the GFCI in your bathroom trips are you going to remember or are they going to know if you are not around to reset the GFCI in your batyhroom to fix their bathroom's problem? The circuit breaker will not be tripped.)
M > There is nothing plugged in anymore to either of these outlets, yet the GFC
M > keeps tripping. My guess is, the GFCI has gone bad - it is most likely 20 M > years old, as my house is 20 years old and I'm the 2nd owner (been here M > about 4 years), and the receptacle quite frankly looks old (if that is of M > any relevance).
It is possible for a GFCI to wear out or become overly sensitive -- the new GFCIs are better anyway, so wouldn't hurt to change it out. Just remember to shut off the circuit breaker providing power to the GFCI (line side).
M > So how should I proceed? I have knowledge of electrical safety (ie, how not M > to get electrocuted, and how to use a meter). I also have basic wiring M > skills/tools, so my thought to was to buy a new GFCI and install it. M > However, there is one thing I'm concerned about: M > M > Yesterday the wife and I put up all of the Christmas lights outside. And of M > course right afterward, here in the Philadelphia area, it started raining M > and has ever since. So I'm concerned that perhaps the christmas lights (the M > standard series-wired little bulb things) are somehow playing into this. If M > not, then it's just odd coincidence? Those lights are not connected to the M > GFCI and are not "downstream" so I don't see how they could affect it. Come M > to think of it, I need to go check to make sure those still work - I haven'
M > plugged them in yet today.
Assuming by now you have determined either the lights are on the GFCI or not.
M > For the time being - how should I troubleshoot this? Should I just go ahead M > and replace the GFCI receptacle?
Ckt breaker ===> your bath lights | ===> your bath GFCI | ====> adjacent bath's outlet ? ====> to outside lights? ? ====> to anything else?
The GFCI has LINE and LOAD terminals. The LINE terminals go to circuit breaker (power in). The LOAD terminals go to the downstream outlets.
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
* "Who stole my thermal underwear?" the hunter said coldly.
--
RoseReader 2.52 P003186
The Safe BBS Bettendorf, IA 563-359-1971
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

this happened to me recently. replaced the gfci, same problem. replaced a downstream outlet and gfci worked normally.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

p.s. it goes without saying, but make sure you cut the right circuit breaker before fooling with it or it'll end your holiday real quick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks to all who replied.
The outside lights are not connected to the GFCI.
A couple of hours after I posted the original problem, I went upstairs and reset the GFCI and it worked. And has since then (a full day). So I'm not sure what the problem is/was.
mark

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 23:48:03 -0500, "Steve@carolinabreezehvac"
20 yrs for gfci is well beyond its lifespan, not factoring bathroom humidity. So probably 15 yrs is a good estimate, but probably NEMA or UL will have more details, but here is what CSPC has on it.
http://www.cpsc.gov/volstd/gfci/AnalysisGFCI.pdf
I suggest replace all your gfci while your at it, around $10.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.