No offense, but you say that if it was a licensed
electrician it's OK don't sweat it, but then you ask
how the installation was done? The OP isn't likely to
know whether it was done to "all that jazz" or he
wouldn't have posted here.
IMO, that's an unacceptable situation and the
electrician/contractor needs to be put on notice that
it needs to be taken care of.
Taken care of? OP'er said it rained. GFCI did it's job.
Unless it keeps happening over and over, I wouldn't worry about it.
Tripped once after rain and..... hmmm, What is your idea? GFCI should
never trip? If not, when does it suppose to trip?
No, as another poster mentioned, lightning could
possibly do that. The OP didn't say anything about
that though; only a lot of rain. If it tripped because
of water entry, and since it's a new install, it's
going to trip more often and shouldn't have tripped.
The contractor teling him not to worry was a tipoff
that he should put the contractor on notice so that if
it trips next time it rains, he will have to remedy it.
Otherwise the contractor gets to say it didn't bother
until now? Oh, not my job then.
I am reacting mostly to the glib response about it
being "normal" for them to trip. They should NEVER
trip unless they see an imbalance in the current flows.
If water's getting into a new install, something's not
They should only trip when there is a fault in an
item plugged into that gfci protected line. And water
should not be getting into the wiring.
Well, from what has been said about the contractor's
response, maybe. It's only my opinion, but I'd have
been pretty exasperated by anyone that told me they
"just do that" without knowing why he said that.
Personally I would see if I couldn't get the guy to
come back out and take care of the problem now. Since
he's already been there after the storm, it should be
easy to find the place where water got into the system.
He probably already knows, but didn't want to fix it.
That's why I say to put him on notice that you want it
fixed, so he'll know you're goign to expect himn to
take care of it next time it rains or gets sprayed by
the hose, or whatever (which, BTW, could be, not IS,
Another poster mentioned the plug getting wet and
shorting, but if the receptacle is the proper kind,
with proper gaskets and flip-open covers, the plug pins
shouldn't be able to get wet from rain. A garden hose
yes, but not rain. Outdoor receptacles are a lot
different than indoor receptacles. IMO, it's more
likely the water got into a box or even the receptacle
box, or a joiner or other conduit fixture that was
either the wrong type or poorly assembled or had a
Everything above assumes, of course, that you dont'
have any jerry-rigged plugs on equipment plugged into
that outlet; I don't think you mentioned whether
anythng was plugged into it when it opened, but I
assumed not, now I think of it. If something plugged
into it got wet, that equipment also could open the
gfci, of course.
At any rate, GFCI's do not "just do that". They
trip on a very specific current condition so that they
will turn the power off before it reaches lethal levels
where one could come in contact with it.
IN a perfect world, that guy would get right back
out there and look for the problem, and/or offer to
come instantly the next time it pops on you. I doubt
very much your contract specifies a GFCI that "just
does that", since you can't buy such a thing.
If he's resisting you, then a chat with your local
code enforcement office might be interesting and if
they're in a good mood, they might ask you a few
questions that could be enlightening too. Don't be
afraid to call; that's part of why they're there.
Was the work inspected? If you can, talk to the
inspector - he's actually seen the work and might have
a comment or two on it.
Anyone have an NEC read on this? I dont' have access
to the book right now.
Sorry, I had three thoughts in my head when I posted - I meant to
somehow convey the idea that if the GFCI was tripping like once in a
blue moon (once a year, technically), and the electrical work was done
by a licensed electrician, then personally I would not worry about it.
Problem is the OP would not know the answer so the whole line of
reasoning is basically unhelpful.
If the sucker's tripping once a month for example then that is not
good, the contractor needs to look at it.
GFCIs are subject to nuisance trips. As a practical mater, the
electrician is likely to find nothing, and depending on what is
downstream from the GFCI they may spend a lot of time finding nothing.
Seems to me it is entirely reasonable to see if the trip reoccurs.
I would agree, but since this was just put in, by that time it'll
cost to pay someone to do it. Since this was apparently just
done, the installer at least needed to be put on notice so he
could fix it later if that's how it turns out.
Besides, apparently it turned out the guy had light/s plugged into
it at the time, so there probably nothing wrong at the gfci anyway
- certainly though, the installer should have told the OP about
that, not just said "they do that".
It may be defective, or it may be working as designed.
If moisture is getting into it or the circuit, it may be sensing a current leak
and tripping legitimately. In that case, you may have to relocate it or get a
better cover on it to protect it from the elements.
If it trips repeatedly without reasonable cause, it may be defective.
I have a couple on outside receptacle, and it trips once or twice a year. "They
do that" covers that kind of repetitive trip.
I think this all depends on your definition of "they do that." Yes,
they can trip because of some reason which is never really known for
sure, like a transient, but that should be relatively rare. I have had
GFCI on outside outlets that I can't recall ever tripping. It
certainly should not trip just from a regular rainstorm. I'd keep an
eye on it and see if it repeats.
I bought some indoor GFIC outlets from Home Depot and some of them were
way too touchy. They'd trip when plugging in a turned-off appliance.
I'd replace it with another of the same brand and it would work.
OSH carried the same model, so not trying to flame HD. And I didn't
have any ground in those outlets, maybe that makes them more sensitive.
Leviton smart lock GFIC
Two outlets gave me trouble in two rooms with different appliances. I
replaced them with new ones of the same brand and they worked great.
I thought GFICs tended to have quality problems which is why you should
test them periodically?
No, it's not Q problems per-se. GFI's have mechanical contactors, and
electronics. The contactors can burn out or stick, and the electronics
can (very occasionally) fry. If it sticks, you have a false sense of
You may have had two marginal units, but from Leviton, I'm surprised.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
I agree they don't "just do that"
unless the GFIC itself was defective.
it was a BS answer in any case, from someone who sounds like they are
underqualified/ignorant or just lazy.
doesn't surprise me, as often times contractors/tradesmen are terribly
underqualified, like HVAC men, for example, an awful bunch of incompetent
rednecks, for the most part.
can't tell you how many I have heard tell a homeowner that an A/C system or
heat pump just needs a shot of freon every year or two, but also tell them
there is no leak.
well find the damn leak, idiot, the freon just doesn't disappear into thin
air! It ain't like a car that just "uses some oil"
want to stump an HVAC man, ask him how the same freon that is room
temperature in that tank over there can make you cold in the summer, yet
warm in the winter
not saying that there is no HVAC tech that can answer this, just saying that
most can't, and that is pathetic
as far as I am concerned, HVAC techs should be REQUIRED to pass a college
level thermodynamics course with an "A" before being granted a license.
I bet you over half the HVAC techs cannot, starting with the compressor,
tell you each component the freon enters, in order, and complete the loop of
naming components back to the compressor again, which is what they should
have learned on their first day of school!
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