GFCI Outlet Keeps Tripping

January 16, 2011

I moved into a house built in 1995. There is a GFCI outlet in the bathroom that will not stay on. When you press the reset button, the outlet stays on for about 5 seconds and then the breaker trips. I've replaced the GFCI outlet with the same results. Any advice would be appreciated. It's a 15 amp outlet.


By Lisa


January 19, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I know a family that got annoyed because the power surge protector kept tripping so they bypassed it and their house burned down. Be careful something like that is not going on with your house. Have you consulted an electrician? Somethings need expert advice and I think electrical problems is probably one of these.

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5 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 8, 2015

I put my outdoor Xmas lights up the day after Thanksgiving. I have them connected to the GFCI plate we've used every year. The first connection is a solar sensor and then thru an extension with multiple plug-ins. It is the same setup as years past. Last evening they stopped working. Today I tried removing 2 strings of lights, which were attached end to end from the main extension cord.

I also have four other strings connected end to end from the main extension cord. Removing the first two I mentioned worked, for about 4 or five hours before the GFCI outlet went out again. The power to the outlet is still there, but it won't stop tripping. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.


December 9, 20150 found this helpful
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Electricity works on a loop. Current flows out on the hot and back on the neutral. A standard breaker trips when the flow in the loop is too great. A GFCI trips when the current flowing out exceeds the current flow returning by 4 to 6 milliamps (.004 to .006 amps). It is assumed this small current could be flowing through a person so the GFCI trips.

The current that is leaking is taking an alternate path back to the ground in your panel. Often this is caused by wet locations. The closer you are to the ground of your panel and what it is bonded to (typically a water pipe), the easier it is to trip a GFCI. So if your lights are wrapped around your water spigot, it would be easy to trip the GFCI.

Lighting strings do not typically have a ground pin, so the current flow from the hot back to your panel would have to be through the neutral (desirable) or the earth (maybe to a water pipe) (undesirable).

Another concern is your sensor. If it has a ground pin and is plugged in outside, and moisture getting in the unit could be providing a path between the hot and ground pin which would trip the GFCI. Make sure the sensor is rated for outdoor use and is in good condition.

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October 17, 2018

After years of not having any problems, my electric dryer has starting tripping a GFCI outlet across the room (same line) when the dryer begins a cycle. Yet, the GFCI that it (the dryer) is plugged into is "not" tripped, so the dryer continues to function well without any issues!

The washing machine, plugged into the same receptacle as the dryer, does not trip the GFCI across the room; it functions without any issues.

The tripping happens immediately when the dryer begins to function (not when turned on, but rather, when the actual drying cycle begins).

When plugging the dryer into an extension cord which is connected to an outlet in another room (on a different line), the dryer functions normally, without any issues. So it is just the one receptacle located in the same room as the dryer that trips as a result of the dryer starting a cycle.

I changed the tripping GFCI outlet, and it continues to function perfectly, as long as the dryer is not being used.

Any ideas you may have about this curious situation which has suddenly developed would be greatly appreciated!


October 18, 20180 found this helpful

The wire running from the outlet to the breaker may have malfunctioned. You are best off having a licensed electrician take care of it unless you are very familiar with electricity.

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October 18, 20180 found this helpful

I know two houses that have had serious fires from diy electrical projects--and one was dryer related. When it comes to electricity, unless you are a professional electrician, I always suggested to call in a pro. Yes, I know it is super expensive and that is not cool, but sometimes safely has to come first! Let me know what they say. Good luck!!!!

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July 22, 2019

I have 2 circuits with GFCI on each. Both have separate breakers. But when one is reset the other one on the other circuit trips.

Any ideas? I'm baffled and have done electrical for sometime.


July 22, 20190 found this helpful

There seems to be an incorrect wiring setup. It looks like these two circuits, which should be separate, share circuitry. If you cant figure it out for yourself, hire an electrician.

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March 16, 2015

My microwave trips the GFI. It never did this before. I changed the GFI, but it still does it.

By George


December 3, 20170 found this helpful

I would change the breaker out next. Have you added anything else on to the circuit this is on? If it still happens after you change out the breaker, try plugging it in at a different outlet on a different circuit. If it happens there, the problem is the microwave. If it doesn't, the problem is your wiring.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 16, 2011

I have a toaster oven plugged into one of several GFIC outlets in my kitchen. Yesterday we noticed the oven was not working and the GFIC reset button had tripped.

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