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GFI breaker keeps tripping. Testing steps.

Do NOT DIY. You can get killed or burn you home and family!


1) Turn the breaker OFF. First of all you need to find an online user manual for your breaker model and thoroughly check if every wire is correctly connected to your GFI breaker. Check, recheck and reconnect wires the right way if necessary. 70% of all mistakes are fixed after this step, unless you have already ruined the GFCI. If the problem is gone, congratulations! If not, read on. Just do not forget to check if the load works correctly.


2) Shut the GFI breaker down and temporarily disconnect the LOAD or outgoing wires from the breaker. Try to turn the breaker OFF and then back ON. Does it stay in the ON position? If yes, continue reading. If NOT, it is defective and must be replaced.


3) Now, in the ON position and with load wires still out, push the test button. If breaker trips, continue reading. If nothing happened, go buy a new one.


4) Shut it OFF. Go and disconnect the incoming wires or cable from the load at the other end of the same branch wires or cable. (You have already disconnected the outgoing wires in step 2. And now the branch wires or cable is completely disconnect at both ends. Make sure to apply wire nuts or insulating tape to the bare tips.)


5) Make sure the breaker is still OFF and reconnect the LOAD or outgoing wires to your breaker. (In other words, undo what you did in the first part of step 2.) Thoroughly check if every wire is correctly connected to your GFCI breaker as per manual or wiring diagram. And turn the breaker ON. Does the GFCI stay in the ON position? If yes, continue reading. If NOT, branch wires or cable is defective and must be replaced.


6) Shut it down and reconnect the incoming wires or cable to the load. (In other words, undo what you did in the first part of step 4.) Now everything is reconnected as it is supposed to. Turn it ON again. Does the GFCI stay in the ON position? If yes, and if the load works correctly you can get a couple of cold beers and relax. If NOT, continue reading.


7) Turn the GFCI OFF and move it to another spot in the same panel. The logic behind this is that even if highly unlikely, the contacts giving power to the breaker could be defective or the breaker is NOT making a good tight contact with the hot bas bar(s) of the panel. Tighten all screws and connections. If it's a two pole GFCI, make sure there is a 220, 240, or 208 volt on the input and output of the breaker. It is especially important for the Stab Lock brand. Turn it ON again. Does the GFCI stay in the ON position? If yes, and if the load works correctly you are done. If NOT, continue reading.


8) Disconnect all outgoing wires from the GFCI, replace it with a regular breaker of the same Amps and correctly reconnect the wires. Turn it ON. If it trips, there is a short or another major problem in the load. And it must be either replaced or repaired. If it does not trip, go buy a new GFCI.


9) If the new GFCI trips after everything was connected correctly, then there is tiny current leakage in the load. And it must be either replaced or repaired.


Unfortunately there is no other way of troubleshooting without very expensive specialized equipment