I had gotten an Intex pool with a filter pump. I ran a UF cable
outside, and I installed a weatherproof outlet, plus I installed it
under my deck stairs so it would be out of the elements. The UF cable
goes into an Intermatic timer in my basement, then to the breaker
panel. There are 3 total GFI devices on this circuit.
1) the filter pump has a GFI plug on it
2) The outside outlet is a GFI
3) the breaker is GFI ( I have a lot of spare GFI breakers to use)
So far on 2 occasions, the breaker tripped, and this was after it
rained outside. All the connections look good, and the filter pump
looks good. Would multiple GFI devices cause problems, or does the
breaker trip indicate I have a fault somewhere?
First, I agree with everyone who says that multiple GFCI should not
cause the breaker to trip. I just wanted to make sure we weren't
missing anything with the set-up that might point us in a particular
Second, having multiple GFCI is a waste of money - and possibly time,
if you have to chase a trip through multiple devices.
There is a discussion going on over in rec.woodworking about a guy
wiring up his new shop. He was going to use GFCI breakers and GFCI
receptacles and the idea was generally poo-pooed by those that are
knowledgeable in wiring and the NEC. Not that it's not allowed, it's
just not worth it.
If only the GFCI breaker is tripping then I see one of 3 possible
1 - Breakers don't just trip when there is a over-amperage situation.
Many breakers have thermal protection built in for those situations
where a circuit is borderline-over-amped ;-) which can cause the
breaker to heat up and trip. I used to get those nuisance trips until
I split up the circuits in my house.
2 - Water is getting into the circuit prior to the first GFCI
receptacle, causing the breaker to trip but not any of the GFCI
3 - The breaker is getting cranky.
Since you said "I have a lot of spare GFI breakers to use" the first
thing I would do is swap the circuit to another GFCI breaker. At a
minimum, that would eliminate # 3 as the cause.
Then I'd open the first external GFCI box and check for moisture, etc.
all the way back to the breaker. I actually had water enter my breaker
box via the service wire. Water was getting inside the jacket at the
top of the house, flowing inside the service wire (even uphill) and
dripping down over the main breaker. Before I had the "resources" to
get it replaced, I slit the jacket ever so slightly at its lowest
point and drained out the water. Once it was drained, I never got
another drop in the breaker box. Anyway, search for moisture (or some
other kind of intermittent short) between the first GFCI receptacle
and the breaker.
Next I'd try to split up the devices, even if by temporarily using
extension cords, to eliminate #1. Best case would be to plug the cord
into a different GFCI, on a different circuit, to see if that trips.
Lastly (and more work) would be to pull a temp wire from the breaker
to the first outside outlet. This would eliminate cause # 2.
But as I said, I'd swap breakers first.
I don't know that it matters exactly what he has, but it sounds like
he has a GFCI breaker feeding a GFCI outlet which then has a pool pump
plugged into it which also has it's own GFCI.
In any case, from what I know of how GFCIs operate, I don't see why
having any number of them in series would cause them to trip. And
any one or all of them could trip from a fault anywhere, depending on
slight differences in trip point, speed, etc.
The fact that it trips after rain strongly suggests that water is
getting into something.
As I understand the design of the gfci, no, having multiple gfci's on the
same ckt would not cause false trips. I'd consider it most likely that water
at some point caused the ground fault and resulting trip of the gfci. All
they're doing is looking for an imabalance in the Hot/Neutral lines and the
first one to see it will open the ckt.
Circuit breaker weak or too small for pump starting current?
BUT. Before installing a bigger breaker check the proper size of all
the wiring between the breaker panel and the heaviest pool item. Maybe
something has been changed or added; a pool heater for example?
Does wiring and breaker size meet specification for the pool
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