Residential Wiring - The Right Way!
GFI Outlets are made to detect minute amounts of current leakage, it is able to detect when the ungrounded (hot) conductor and the grounded (neutral) conductor does not have equal current flow which means there is a leakage of current going somewhere and will shut down the outlet / circuit when an unbalance is detected. They are used near water sources such as kitchen sink counter areas, bathrooms and home exterior outlets. They are not over current devices when it comes in the form of an outlet.
When they trigger thereby shutting the outlet or onward circuit off it means (assuming it was previously working and wired properly)....
1. There is a current leakage to ground (the GFI is doing what it is designed to do).
2. The GFI Outlet is faulty (when no current leakage is actually occurring).
Outside usage can sometimes be annoying but yet required. I have found using block heaters on vehicles that you are dealing with an exposed wire at the vehicle side, an outdoor extension that is often left outside and moisture on these can cause a perfectly working GFI outlet to trigger, which defeats the purpose of having a block heater on a vehicle in colder climates. You can bring the outdoor extension cord inside when not in use, but not sure how you can deal with a snow coated / iced up cord on the vehicle side.
Inside GFI usage, if you get frequent GFI shut downs when there is no obvious moisture / apparent ground fault try replacing the GFI Outlet, it is possible that it is false triggering due to a faulty circuit inside the GFI itself.
If that does not do it, ask our experts on our forums for additional advice.
By: Donald Kerr
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Donald Kerr / Wiring Done Right
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