Circuit breaker trips only while taking a shower, in master bathroom?

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C.Chambers

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Why would the 15 (amp) circuit breaker trip while taking a shower, in only one bathroom? This does not happen while taking a hot shower, in the guest bathroom. Also, the breaker resets with no problem, soon after I've completed my shower.

Note: I've tried unplugging the ceiling fan, and the 15 (amp) breaker still trips.
 

Snoonyb

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Welcome.

It could be a number of things, but obviously associated with moist air.

Does this happen if nothing electrical is turned on?

Are there any light fixtures loose or slightly displaced from the wall, or switch/recep. cover plates loose or displaced.
 

Bob Reynolds

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Does it trip the breaker if you don't turn the light on in the bathroom while taking a shower?

I would look first at the light or the bathroom fan, heater combination.

How old is the home? Is there a heated floor system in the bathroom?

What kind of pipes are in the home? (copper, pex, etc.)
 

C.Chambers

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The house is approximately 11 years old and the pipes are that vinyl looking material. I've at this point had my light on, so I'll not turn this on the next time I shower to see if the trouble is emanating from here. I agree it would almost have to be local and isolated in that particular bathroom. Just strange it would suddenly occur. The covers for the receptacle and light switch snug against the wall. Thank you for your assistance and I will get back with you on my findings.
 

Snoonyb

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The cause could be as simple as a conductor with nicked insulation shorting to the grnd. conductor, or a failing GFCI.

Part of the process of elimination, is to turn the breaker off, before any repairs are attempted.
 

C.Chambers

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The cause could be as simple as a conductor with nicked insulation shorting to the grnd. conductor, or a failing GFCI.

Part of the process of elimination, is to turn the breaker off, before any repairs are attempted.

So a failing GFCI, would cause the steam from the shower to possibly trip the breaker?

Also if Initially turn off the light switch, prior to showering. Would this eliminate the possibility of my overhead bathroom light fixture of being the issue?
 

Bob Reynolds

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Also if Initially turn off the light switch, prior to showering. Would this eliminate the possibility of my overhead bathroom light fixture of being the issue?

If you turn the light switch off prior to showering and the breaker does not trip, it would indicate there is something wrong with that circuit. It could be the fixture, the wiring or the switch.
 

zannej

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Yikes. I hope you can get this figured out! That would not be fun to have the breaker trip while in the shower.
 

afjes_2016

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Is this a regular breaker or a GFCI or AFCI breaker?
Also, this circuit that keeps tripping where else in the house does it go? Just in this bathroom? When the breaker trips you would test the other lights and receptacles to see what else is affected when the breaker is off.

Wondering if it is a GFCI breaker then maybe too much moisture in the bathroom which is causing the breaker trip.

Have there been any changes to the electrical recently that may start to cause this. Has this breaker been in this panel for quite some time and this only started to happen?

A little more background will help us help you. Just like when you go to the doctor. You tell the doctor everything that could be related to your problem so they can evaluate and make an educated decision and where to start from in troubleshooting your illness in this case an electrical issue
 

Snoonyb

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So a failing GFCI, would cause the steam from the shower to possibly trip the breaker?

Also if Initially turn off the light switch, prior to showering. Would this eliminate the possibility of my overhead bathroom light fixture of being the issue?

GFCI's can be temperamental, and regarding your light fixture, if the hot pair is there, there may be some exposure, you see, as I said and as you can see from the responses, it's a process of elimination, and when a function is defined, we can provide a course of action.
 

C.Chambers

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GFCI's can be temperamental, and regarding your light fixture, if the hot pair is there, there may be some exposure, you see, as I said and as you can see from the responses, it's a process of elimination, and when a function is defined, we can provide a course of action.
Ok in preparation to taking a shower today, I placed and taped a plastic bag over the vent cover, I applied electrical tape to the GFCI receptacle openings, and turned out the bathroom light. I left the bed room light on to see by. The power remained on, which is a productive sign! Now I'll shower like this for say (2) more times, just in case this was an exception to the problem. then I'll reverse the process, (1) item at a time. This is very perplexing. Interesting that if its possibly the GFCI receptacle failing, why the receptacle trips when I press the reset, but would trip the breaker if moisture gets to it. I'll remove the tape from this next, to see if this is the problem.
 

C.Chambers

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Is this a regular breaker or a GFCI or AFCI breaker?
Also, this circuit that keeps tripping where else in the house does it go? Just in this bathroom? When the breaker trips you would test the other lights and receptacles to see what else is affected when the breaker is off.

Wondering if it is a GFCI breaker then maybe too much moisture in the bathroom which is causing the breaker trip.

Have there been any changes to the electrical recently that may start to cause this. Has this breaker been in this panel for quite some time and this only started to happen?

A little more background will help us help you. Just like when you go to the doctor. You tell the doctor everything that could be related to your problem so they can evaluate and make an educated decision and where to start from in troubleshooting your illness in this case an electrical issue
This is a GFCI breaker. It does trip when I manually press the test button, in my bathroom. Why if this is the problem, would the main breaker trip and the receptacle breaker get bypassed? This is definitely puzzling.
 

Snoonyb

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Thanks.

Agreed, the contributor's each have had head scratching experiences and the solutions, each, increase our knowledge base.
 

zannej

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How close is the switch/outlet to the shower? It sounds like you do have a bathroom fan to remove moisture? Is it usually on when you take a shower to pull moisture out? Or is there no fan?
Is it close enough that water could accidentally splash? Is the room usually steamed up after the shower?
 

Bob Reynolds

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Since it did not trip today (with the light out) then I would check the following in this order:

1. The light fixture. Closely examine the socket that the light bulb screws into for signs of arching, discoloration or breakage. Are the wires connected good and tight? A bad socket will cause your issue. Could be a bad fan motor if you have one of those. If you could post a picture of your light fixture (and fan if you have one) it would help.

2. Check the wires that connect to the light switch. Are they good and tight? Are they still shiny? Any signs of discoloration? Is the insulation on the wiring in good condition? Check to make sure any bare ground wires in the outlet box(es) are not touching exposed wires that are not the ground.

3. I would repeat item number two for any outlet in the bathroom.

4. If all that checks out then I might consider replacing the GFI. But I don't believe this is a GFI problem.
 

C.Chambers

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Now I have an interesting turn of events to report. for the first time while shaving with water running. Note: The water was cool to Luke warm, the 15 amp breaker tripped. Then shortly after I turned the breaker back on to brush my teeth, the 15 amp breaker tripped 1 second after I turned the sink off. I removed the bag covering from the vent cover and the electrical tape from the GFCI receptacle. Tomorrow prior to taking a shower, I'll turn the light off in the bathroom and see what happens. Interesting that the water from the sink was not even hot. I know that the hot water heater is on a totally separate breaker, but would this have any baring on this issue?
 

C.Chambers

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Since it did not trip today (with the light out) then I would check the following in this order:

1. The light fixture. Closely examine the socket that the light bulb screws into for signs of arching, discoloration or breakage. Are the wires connected good and tight? A bad socket will cause your issue. Could be a bad fan motor if you have one of those. If you could post a picture of your light fixture (and fan if you have one) it would help.

2. Check the wires that connect to the light switch. Are they good and tight? Are they still shiny? Any signs of discoloration? Is the insulation on the wiring in good condition? Check to make sure any bare ground wires in the outlet box(es) are not touching exposed wires that are not the ground.

3. I would repeat item number two for any outlet in the bathroom.

4. If all that checks out then I might consider replacing the GFI. But I don't believe this is a GFI problem.
My light fixture is a typical dome shape. I've included a picture that's not to clear.
 

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Bob Reynolds

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I see the light fixture and I see a fan as well. Are they both on the same switch?

The other possibility is that one of your white neutral wire connections is loose and causing the breakers to trip. You can shoot an infrared thermometer at each outlet and switch and see if anything looks like it is at a higher temperature than normal. That would indicate a loose connection.
 

afjes_2016

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This is a GFCI breaker. It does trip when I manually press the test button, in my bathroom. Why if this is the problem, would the main breaker trip and the receptacle breaker get bypassed? This is definitely puzzling.

Two things here. This is the first mention of a main breaker tripping. Did you mean the GFCI breaker tripping in this post?
Also, if this circuit is protected by a GFCI breaker there is no need for a GFCI receptacle. The receptacle does not provide any extra protection and in fact may not play nice with the GFCI breaker.

Why would the 15 (amp) circuit breaker trip while taking a shower, in only one bathroom? This does not happen while taking a hot shower, in the guest bathroom. ...

Also are you saying that the guest bathroom is on the same GFCI (breaker) circuit as the bathroom you are having issues with? Does that guest bathroom also have a GFCI receptacle?

Your post #16 - at this time I would say that the hot water heater would have anything to do with this issue. Hot water heaters do play a part in other issues such as back feeding a lost leg etc but let's not get into that now.

Have you changed anything in the way of electrical with the devices that are affected where they worked fine prior to doing any electrical work.

Also, you keep mentioning water. Just wondering and may not have anything to do with this but has any plumbing work been done on the house recently. Such as copper piping or copper piping being removed and replaced with PEX.

Another note. Covering the prong holes on a GFCI receptacle is really not such a good idea overall. If moisture is getting into a GFCI receptacle covering the prong holes will cause the GFCI longer to dry out inside (less air flow). Moisture can still penetrate it even with the holes are being covered.
You keep mentioning water
 

C.Chambers

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I see the light fixture and I see a fan as well. Are they both on the same switch?

The other possibility is that one of your white neutral wire connections is loose and causing the breakers to trip. You can shoot an infrared thermometer at each outlet and switch and see if anything looks like it is at a higher temperature than normal. That would indicate a loose connection.
the fan and light are on separate switch right next to one another. So I should loosen the light fixture and check the connection as well as the light switch?
 
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