Water Cooler is Popping the GFI?

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by oldpops, Jun 24, 2019.

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  1. Jun 24, 2019 #1

    oldpops

    oldpops

    oldpops

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    Hi folks,
    We have water cooler dispenser (5 gallon bottles) in our kitchen that ran fine when we stopped using it a few months ago. It's getting hot again so we plugged it on and it popped the GFI right away (it's actually an outlet with the GFI button built in). Tried it a couple of times and get the same response. Tried another plug on the same GFI circuit and the same thing happened. Normally i would think the water cooler compressor broke/grounded or shorted out, but that same GFI circuit has given us trouble in the past. Anyway, just need some advice on how to 1) Test the GFI circuit/outlet to see if it an old/weak GFI outlet and needs to be replaced. and 2) Need advice on how to test/troubleshoot the water cooler and compressor.
     
  2. Jun 24, 2019 #2

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

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    Your pooping versus popping really confused me, so I fixed the title of the thread!
     
  3. Jun 25, 2019 #3

    bud16415

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    Plug it into another GFCI and see if it works.

    The normal way to test the GFCI is with the test button.
     
  4. Jun 26, 2019 #4

    Michael Armstrong

    Michael Armstrong

    Michael Armstrong

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    Here's a couple more detailed looks at testing GFCIs:

    https://www.thespruce.com/test-ground-fault-interrupter-outlets-1152422
    https://www.carterservices.com/blog/2018/september/how-to-test-your-gfci-outlet/

    Several companies make a little plug-in fault tester (aka "the $9 tester) that tests for ground faults (mentioned in the first reference, and its use described in painstaking detail at http://thecircuitdetective.com/outlet_tester_readings.php):
    upload_2019-6-26_9-20-3.png
    However, some sources (including most GFCI manufacturers' installation instructions) claim that the built-in test facility is the only reliable way to test. One particular failure mode is that the little $9 tester will not properly test for an open ground. This may not be a big deal, because NEC permits GFIs to be used as a solution to no-EGC (Equipment Grounding Conductor) circuits, often seen in old construction. There is also an issue with the $9 tester's sensitivity - UL requires that a GFCI will not trip from a 4ma current differential, and must trip on 6ma or greater. The test button on a GFCI inserts a bypass resistor that bypasses 5ma exactly. I'm not sure what the $9 testers do.

    Bottom line: test using the built-in test mechanism on the GFCI receptacle or the GFCI circuit breaker. Note that this will not test the individual receptacles downstream from the GFCI for all possible problems.

    If you really want the whole load, have a look at:
    https://iaeimagazine.org/magazine/2012/05/16/gfci-and-afci-basics/
    ...which is 7 years old, but an excellent review of the basics of GFCIs (and AFCIs).
     
    bud16415 likes this.

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