Ground Fault circuit breaker

I am having a problem with my GFI circuit breaker. It trips. Now perhaps it is working correctly, but I'm not sure. The circuit controls the central vac in the garage (and a couple of outlets in the garage and exterior of the house.)
I was told by a reliable electrician that one problem might be leakage due to build up of dust in the vacuum, or in the outlet boxes. I removed them all and blew the dust out, and took the vacuum apart and cleaned it well.
The problem may have gotten better, but it is still there.
A new breaker is pretty expensive and may not be the problem. How can I troubleshoot this? Is there anything that I can plug in to an outlet to determine if 'this one is the problem'?
Rob
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What's plugged into those outlets?
Have you checked the outdoor outlets for moisture infiltration or condensation?
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I agree with Doug, whenever I've had intermittent tripping of GFCI breakers, its always turned out to be an outside outlet with water getting in. Also I'd question a central vac that's not on a dedicated circuit. The ones I've wired require a 20 amp circuit by themselves
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I agree. BTW ...Is the problem more common after it rains? Classic t/s is to divide and conquer. Disconnect central vac and observe. Perhaps disconnect all load lines from GFCI c/b ... and observe.
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RBM wrote:

That's what I thought too, and the code here probably requires it. I didn't install the vac though, and it might have been ok all those years ago. I'm not positive about the exterior outlets and I didn't remove them to check because they are sealed with caulk. The seal looks good but I guess this summer I know what I'll have to do.
Rob
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From painful experience: Sometimes GFI breakers just go bad. (The pain came when it tripped when I was shaving and the electric shaver grabbed a few gazillion whiskers when it stopped). Replaced the GFI breaker and no further problems. (Also switched to a rechargable razor )
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I had a GFCI breaker go bad last year, so it happens. I replaced it with a standard breaker and a GFCI outlet. Haven't had any problems since.
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Problem is it might be a receptacle that went bad, not the breaker.
later,
tom @ www.FindMeShelter.com
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On Sun, 30 Jan 2005 20:58:41 -0500, Rob Mitchell

BTW, a good electrician should have had a gfci tester, not the $7 job, but the one where you can dial in the 'leakage' to see if it's tripping at the right set point.
Now GFCI's are suppose to trip so we need to also know what is also occuring when it trips(example, running the vacuum, or plugging in something).
hth,
tom @ www.ChopURL.com
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Good points. The circuit trips sometimes when the vac is running and other times when it's not. Central vacs in the garage must have this problem all the time because when you don't change the can dust blows into the motor housing and in a garage in Canada (cold, wet 11 months of the year, 40C 100% humidity the other month) that dust gets pretty wet and stringy and probably conducts pretty well.
Rob
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