GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-17-2007, 07:06 PM   #1
Pro
 
gravtyklz's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating & Electric
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Central VA
Posts: 151
Rewards Points: 150

GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


I was just wondering if GFCI breakers do any better of a job than a GFCI Receptacle?

I can think of instances of where it would be more efficient to use a breaker than a receptacle, but I was wondering if one was actually any better than the other.

I went to a service call today where a GFI breaker was apparently tripping on the customer. The circuit was tested with everything on it running and it only went up to 7.5 Amps. So it wasnt over loaded. Then someone said to me without really being able to explain it said that the GFI receptacles were too sensitive, and that a breaker would be better.

So fact or myth?
gravtyklz is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   

Advertisement

 

Old 10-17-2007, 08:38 PM   #2
Pro
 
goose134's Avatar
 
Trade: Union Electrician
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Chicago
Posts: 135
Rewards Points: 75

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Well, it might be possible that the breaker is functioning perfectly. If one of the appliances on the circuit has a ground leak or a ground fault, that would trip it. Try running everything on the circuit and after it trips unplug one appliance. Turn it back on and if it trips again, try another one, one at a time and it might isolate your problem. As to the sensitivity factor I'm not sure. Kirchoff's law is pretty specific.

Advertisement

goose134 is offline  
Old 10-17-2007, 09:37 PM   #3
Service & Repairs
 
Magnettica's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrician
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Rahway, New Jersey
Posts: 4,001
Rewards Points: 2,002

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


GFCI circuit breakers are inconvienent if they're used for say, kitchen countertop receptacle protection. Although this method is code compliant, a receptacle device is more convienent on the countertop. The breakers are normally more expensive as well.
Magnettica is offline  
Old 10-17-2007, 10:01 PM   #4
Old Guy
 
househelper's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrician (semi-retired)
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: SC
Posts: 34
Rewards Points: 25

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Quote:
Originally Posted by goose134 View Post
Well, it might be possible that the breaker is functioning perfectly. If one of the appliances on the circuit has a ground leak or a ground fault, that would trip it. Try running everything on the circuit and after it trips unplug one appliance. Turn it back on and if it trips again, try another one, one at a time and it might isolate your problem. As to the sensitivity factor I'm not sure. Kirchoff's law is pretty specific.
It would be more efficient to unplug everything, then turn the breaker back on. If it does not trip, start plugging things back in. When it trips, you've found the problem.
househelper is offline  
Old 10-17-2007, 10:03 PM   #5
Pro
 
gravtyklz's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating & Electric
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Central VA
Posts: 151
Rewards Points: 150

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


I was just wondering if one actually worked better than the other...I guess the consensus is that they both operate the exact same?

I replaced the gfi receptacle with a gfi breaker because there were interior lights running off of the circuit and they didnt want to go outside to reset a receptacle if it tripped.

How do you guys normally handle quirky service calls? Things that only happen "sometimes".

Do you leave the owner instructions or just keep going back hoping maybe it will act that way when you get there?
gravtyklz is offline  
Old 10-17-2007, 10:06 PM   #6
Pro
 
gravtyklz's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating & Electric
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Central VA
Posts: 151
Rewards Points: 150

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Quote:
Originally Posted by househelper View Post
It would be more efficient to unplug everything, then turn the breaker back on. If it does not trip, start plugging things back in. When it trips, you've found the problem.
Well whatever is tripping it is apparently inconsistant. (1)I first got a call that a pong water filter/pump wasnt working at all. I found a gfi that was tripped so I reset it and all was well. (2) Then I got a call saying that it wasnt working again, so I went back turned everything on that could possibly be on and all was well.

There was a drop cord sitting out there too, but no one claims to have used it for anything.
gravtyklz is offline  
Old 10-17-2007, 10:15 PM   #7
DGR,IABD
 
mdshunk's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical; Commercial and Residential Service
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central PA
Posts: 9,682
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


If I'm retrofitting 3-wire receptacles on an old 2-wire circuit, depending on how it's wired, I'll sometimes use a GFCI breaker. There was a certain style of wiring where they ran into the light box in each room, and dropped a single cable down to each receptacle. That would be an aweful lot of GFCI receptacles to protect those locations, so the breaker is the cheaper option. Also, same deal with K&T. They normally had a K&T "buss" in the basement or attic, and dropped single drops to each receptacle. The GFCI breaker is the way to fly there. For most everything else, I use the GFCI receptacle for the convenience of the point of use reset ability.
mdshunk is offline  
Old 10-18-2007, 09:21 AM   #8
Member
 
te12c02w's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 72
Rewards Points: 75

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


I'm guessing this procedure has been researched by now and maybe even discussed, but I didn't see it. I didn't go through all the past post though. When we have to start putting in AFCI protection, how do we handle the GFCI requirement in a dwelling? Putting the two in line present any problems? Have the manufacturers researched this? Does AFCI on top of GFCI or viceversa create any new problems we might not be aware of? Electrical signature of one interfering with the other?
__________________
Jim R
te12c02w is offline  
Old 10-18-2007, 04:00 PM   #9
DGR,IABD
 
mdshunk's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical; Commercial and Residential Service
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central PA
Posts: 9,682
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Quote:
Originally Posted by te12c02w View Post
I'm guessing this procedure has been researched by now and maybe even discussed, but I didn't see it. I didn't go through all the past post though. When we have to start putting in AFCI protection, how do we handle the GFCI requirement in a dwelling? Putting the two in line present any problems? Have the manufacturers researched this? Does AFCI on top of GFCI or viceversa create any new problems we might not be aware of? Electrical signature of one interfering with the other?
Absolutely no problems in that regard.
mdshunk is offline  
Old 10-19-2007, 09:16 AM   #10
Member
 
te12c02w's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 72
Rewards Points: 75

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Thank you
__________________
Jim R
te12c02w is offline  
Old 10-20-2007, 01:13 AM   #11
Retired Contractor
 
LNG24's Avatar
 
Trade: RE Broker, Property Manager, Retired Contractor
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Poultney, VT
Posts: 1,182
Rewards Points: 504

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Off subject a little, but I had a GFCI in the bathroom of my house that would trip when my cell phone would ring. Would only happen if the cell phone was laying directly underneath the outlet on the counter top. It WAS NOT plugged in to anything!

I had an electrician friend come out and check it out because he didn't believe me either. We switched it out and the new one didn't do it.
LNG24 is offline  
Old 10-20-2007, 11:00 AM   #12
Member
 
frenchsparky's Avatar
 
Trade: master electrician USA / France verison
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 70
Rewards Points: 75

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger1799 View Post
Off subject a little, but I had a GFCI in the bathroom of my house that would trip when my cell phone would ring. Would only happen if the cell phone was laying directly underneath the outlet on the counter top. It WAS NOT plugged in to anything!

I had an electrician friend come out and check it out because he didn't believe me either. We switched it out and the new one didn't do it.

Sure that do happend with older style GFCI repectales.

I am not sure if this was mention in this fourm or other one.

Anyway one good example it did happend few years back very instering event [ a fanstic service call for me ]

have to came to the commercal complex area and the owner have to called me to do some electrical repairs some how right next to the other buliding we have few firetrucks parked around the building and their two way radio was so powerfull it trip over 80 + gfci's not only on that building i was working and also next doors as well took me a better part of the day to reset all of it and found few GFCI's just dont work anymore just replace with new one and slove the issuse with that.

Merci, Marc
frenchsparky is offline  
Old 10-20-2007, 11:25 AM   #13
DGR,IABD
 
mdshunk's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical; Commercial and Residential Service
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central PA
Posts: 9,682
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Yeah, GFCI's installed pre 92-ish were very sensitive to RF. The present generation of GFCI breakers and receptacles still suffer that way, but not as much. You can still walk up to a panel with GFCI breakers, key up a 2-way radio, and trip every GFCI in the panel. It's just a quirk that doesn't happen that often, but the manufacturer's are making it better as newer generations of the product come out.
mdshunk is offline  
Old 10-20-2007, 05:26 PM   #14
Pro
 
gravtyklz's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating & Electric
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Central VA
Posts: 151
Rewards Points: 150

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Quote:
Originally Posted by mdshunk View Post
Yeah, GFCI's installed pre 92-ish were very sensitive to RF. The present generation of GFCI breakers and receptacles still suffer that way, but not as much. You can still walk up to a panel with GFCI breakers, key up a 2-way radio, and trip every GFCI in the panel. It's just a quirk that doesn't happen that often, but the manufacturer's are making it better as newer generations of the product come out.
So X-10 could really screw with GFI's too then huh? Alot of X-10's stuff sends RF signals either remotely or through the actual wiring of the house.
gravtyklz is offline  
Old 10-20-2007, 05:33 PM   #15
DGR,IABD
 
mdshunk's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical; Commercial and Residential Service
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central PA
Posts: 9,682
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: GFCI Breaker Vs GFCI Receptacle


Quote:
Originally Posted by gravtyklz View Post
So X-10 could really screw with GFI's too then huh? Alot of X-10's stuff sends RF signals either remotely or through the actual wiring of the house.
No, not in my experience. It's pretty much limited to the very high megahertz ranges, at 1/4 watt and greater. Speedy Pety might have some input on this, since I think he's into radios a bit.

Advertisement

mdshunk is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
GFCI breaker seattle_sparky Electrical 24 01-25-2009 11:38 AM
GFCI breaker appears to be bad 72chevy4x4 Electrical 14 06-03-2008 12:11 PM
GFCI breaker RobertCDF Electrical 19 05-09-2007 06:56 PM
t-shoot gfci breaker hurricaneflyer Electrical 10 11-14-2006 08:56 PM
gfci breaker Browny Electrical 6 05-29-2006 07:45 AM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?