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Outdoor GFCI Outlet Is Tripping: It Could Be Excessive Debris

March 17, 2021
by dmirza

If your outdoor GFCI outlet is tripping too often, there could be a reason you don’t know. Investigate it with the help of a professional and keep inspecting it every month.

This way, you ensure maximum safety at your home.

When there is massive debris in your backyard, you may notice that the GFCI trips randomly. Here is more information about the same and tips on how to fix the issue.

GFCI Outlet Working Method

GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. It is a fast-acting circuit breaker that protects you from ground-faults by continuously monitoring electric current.

When electricity takes an unintended path and escapes to the ground, it is called a ground-fault. It can happen due to faulty wiring, defective power tools, damaged cords, etc. The current surges and flows directly into the ground, bypassing the original circuit, and hence, it is a short circuit.

There is a massive risk of electrical shock or electrocution – especially when your outdoor GFCI outlet is close to a water body, such as a sink or faucet.

When your outdoor GFCI outlet is tripping, it means that it has sensed the change in the rate of the normal current. The internal switch in the GFCI shuts off suddenly and prevents electricity from flowing through the unintended conductor.

Why Your Outdoor GFCI Outlet Is Tripping Frequently

GFCI receptacles have two buttons: test and reset. Usually, when the GFCI trips, it is easy to reset it manually.

However, if your GFCI trips randomly, here are the top five causes:

  1. Moisture or water in the outlet
  2. Dust or debris that conducts electricity
  3. Old wiring
  4. Ground fault (current leakage) in the circuit
  5. Faulty outlet

To know the exact reason for the above situation, call a licensed electrician.

They can

  • Look for missing or worn insulation
  • Inspect for a power overload
  • Replace a faulty receptacle
  • Repair deteriorated electrical wiring

That said, if the outdoor GFCI outlet is tripping even with regular inspections, the cause may be poor backyard maintenance.

How Debris Affects the Exterior GFCI Outlet

Electrical appliances like the air conditioning system, backup generator, and heat pump are typically outdoor units. Since they need a large area as breathing room, you may leave them out in the open or the shed.

Hence, it is highly likely that autumn leaves, flying debris, and dirt from heavy winter rainfall get stuck onto the equipment. Not only does their efficiency decrease, but also significant damage can occur to the appliances.

Keep the outdoor meters, pipes, and valves unobstructed and easily visible. Clean them periodically to prevent dust from settling. Similarly, check the outdoor vents, fireplaces, etc., for critters, spider webs, lint, bird’s nests, or other residues.

When you mow the lawn, pay attention to where the outlets are, so that grass clippings don’t block the current pathways.

Avoid Potential Electrical Mishaps in Your Home

Your outdoor GFCI outlet is tripping to protect your home from dangerous electrical fires. Do your part with proper spring home maintenance and reduce monthly energy bills. Compare affordable energy rates at Shop Texas Electricity.

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