GFCI tripping with drill and grill starter

I installed a GFCI receptacle outside (in a suitable waterproof box). I'm reasonably sure the installation is water tight. Furthermore, I have experienced tripping problems when it hasn't rained for a long time. I'm wondering if these tripping problems are "normal" or if they indicate the existence of a wiring fault of some kind.
I noticed that when I used my hand drill, I would frequently find that when I went to start the drill, the GFCI had tripped (presumably right when I stopped drilling last). I would reset it and then I could proceed to drill. Is this normal behavior for a GFCI, perhaps one that is very sensitive? I've used a drill in a GFCI in the bathroom without having this problem.
The second problem device is a charcoal grill starter. This thing is a resistive heating element on a handle. We were trying to start the charcoal and it kept tripping so we ended up having to return to the old method: extension cord to an indoor (non-GFCI protected) receptacle. The heating element might have been in contact with the metal grill body. Could current have been sneaking to ground from the heating element through the body of the grill (which was resting on a concrete pad)? This would presumably constitute a ground fault and would explain why the GFCI was tripping.
So is my GFCI working normally?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

It *could* be a faulty GFCI.
Why not run that extension cord to the GFCI in the bathroom and test both devices on that one?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I could never get my grill starter to get along with a GFI. I even changed our outdoor outlet to a regular receptacle to be able to use the grill starter. I don't know why, but they never seem to work well together.
Jk
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

-- I even changed our outdoor outlet to a regular receptacle to be able to use the grill starter.
Ahh yes... the old "sacrifice safety for the sake of convenience" trick.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

AIUI: GFCI operate whenever there is an unbalance (i.e. difference between the current flowing in the live and neutral wires). Such an unbalance CAN occur if something is faulty or grounding to a metal casing of an appliance or hand held device (such as an grill starter etc.). But I gather that anything with a motor, with its coils and possibly the trigger switch in only the live side of the line, can, as it is witched on or off, cause capacitive and or inductive 'kicks' in the two currents which cause a momentary unbalance and operate the GFCI. That's why GFCI are never recommended for fridges and freezers cos they may kick off and food then spoils! Not always understood why they are called 'Ground Fault .....' Although they are great for protecting against potentially fatal faults in appliances/tools especially those used outside or in wet areas.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My washing machine and clothes dryer have been on a GFCI for almost a year and it has never tripped, FWIW...
nate
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

-- ... we ended up having to return to the old method: extension cord to an indoor (non-GFCI protected) receptacle.
I thought the old method was lighter fluid.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

My treadmill (it's close to a hot tub) used to do that a lot too, until I replaced the cheap GFCI with a better one. If your sure the ground connections are ok and a GFCI outlet tester shows everything is ok then it could be the outlet. To test try using a GFCI-equipped extension cord run outside from an indoor non-GFCI outlet, if the ext cord also trips under the same circumstances then it's probably some kind of momentary induced leakage current. If the ext cord does not trip, then it's probably the outdoor outlet GFCI.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

When I bought the GFCI (at Home Depot) I had exactly one choice for a 15A GFCI. (They have 3 grades of ordinary receptacle but only one choice for 15A GFCI.) I can try to get one elsewhere. Any advice on telling a good one from a cheap one?
What does a GFCI tester do?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

When I bought the GFCI (at Home Depot) I had exactly one choice for a 15A GFCI. (They have 3 grades of ordinary receptacle but only one choice for 15A GFCI.) I can try to get one elsewhere. Any advice on telling a good one from a cheap one?
What does a GFCI tester do?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

-- When I bought the GFCI (at Home Depot) I had exactly one choice for a -- 15A GFCI. (They have 3 grades of ordinary receptacle but only one -- choice for 15A GFCI.) I can try to get one elsewhere. Any advice on -- telling a good one from a cheap one?
Go to the parts counter at an electrical supply store (where the contractors go) and ask them. Many lighting stores have an "counter sales" section. Fancy-clothed people up front, workboots and coveralls in the back.
-- What does a GFCI tester do?
http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_think_gfci /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've got a lighting/electrical supply place I use regularly, but I prefer to actually know what I'm doing rather than to hope that the guy at the counter has a clue. (For fluorescent lighting issues, the guy at the counter in the back of the lighting store has been completely wrong. It's better if I know what I need.)
I looked in the Leviton catalog and they appear to have two lines of GFCI, a "commercial grade" and a "hospital grade". There doesn't seem to be a cheap "residential grade" nor do I see an "industrial grade". So I can order a "hospital grade" GFCI if it's likely to make a difference. But is it? I thought the "commercial grade" was generally adequate. (I'd wager that the hospital grade GFCI is a special order item even at the electrical supply store.)
For what it's worth, I used a similar drill (but not the very same one) in my bathroom GFCI a lot and it never once tripped. (The bathroom GFCI is the same brand and grade of GFCI as the one outdoors except it's 20A instead of 15A.) It also seems that the tripping problem may be getting worse: I'm told that the grill starter worked in the past on the GFCI.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 23 Oct 2007 08:51:57 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@cam.cornell.edu"

I had a GFCI that would trip whenever anything (even an unconnected extension cord) was plugged into it. Eventually it started buzzing constantly and I looked in the box. That box was full of ants, eggs, and feces.

How about using one of those portable lighters that use propane?

--
63 days until the winter solstice celebration

Mark Lloyd
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

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.