GFCI tripping and cutting off furnace

Discussion in 'The DIY corner' started by Tim, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    This has been happening 1-2x/month for quite a while, now it’s more like 1-2x/day.

    This little pump is plugged into the outlet where the GFCI breaker is located. When the GFCI trips, the whole HVAC system shuts down.

    How confident should I be that replacing the
    pump would solve my problem? Or is it
    Likely that “something else” is tripping it?

    I’m 99% certain that the HVAC unit itself is on its own circuit and the pump is wired into a switch on the HVAC, so that if the pump fails the furnace shuts off.

    Electricity has freaked me out ever since that time I peed on a fence at grandpa’s farm.

    DAC7FCAF-2DBF-4CC8-BAF9-A5E0240E000B.jpeg DE20511C-7016-42C0-939D-AE93068BF8A5.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  2. Jeppo

    Jeppo Loves Burt Gummer to a fault! Staff Member Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    My first inclination would be to run an extension cord to power the pump from an outlet on a different circuit and see what that does. Also, breakers do wear out. If you’re lucky enough that it’s one carried by Home Depot, they’re not prohibitively expensive.
     
  3. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    See....this is why I come here. Thanks for my early dose “why didn’t you think of that, dumbass?”
     
  4. Jeppo

    Jeppo Loves Burt Gummer to a fault! Staff Member Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    I come here hoping someone will teach me how to shoot. :(
     
  5. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Ok...so ran a drop cord. When I unplugged the pump, the furnace kept running.

    I suspect the furnace only cuts off when the water level in the pump gets a certain level and the float closes a circuit - the red cord in my pic above.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
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  6. Jeppo

    Jeppo Loves Burt Gummer to a fault! Staff Member Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    Have you got another identical GFCI breaker? You could swap them temporarily.
     
  7. Jeppo

    Jeppo Loves Burt Gummer to a fault! Staff Member Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    I’m looking more closely at the photo. Are we talking about a GFCI outlet or circuit breaker?
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  8. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    outlet. The one in the pic above where the pump is plugged in.
     
  9. noway2

    noway2 Senior Member Charter Life Member

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    GFCI outlets can be fickle when it comes to motors. And they do wear out, or at least become more fickle about motors. Try changing the outlet. Turn the breaker off make sure the outlet is dead and then change it.
     
  10. jodyisaacs

    jodyisaacs Active Member

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    If done properly, this is correct. One of the switches in the pump should cut the HVAC if the level gets too high due to pump not working or plumbing malfunction. This is to keep the furnace from overflowing the reservoir into the pan. Depending on the age of the unit, there could also be a switch mounted in the pan that will shut the system down. Your pump could be the issue. It could also be the GFCI is faulty. Try another outlet for the pump. If it uses GFCI and doesn't trip, it's the GFCI.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
     
  11. Zbizzle911

    Zbizzle911 Charter Freedom Lover Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Is the circuit your running drop cord to got a gfci? If so the original one is probably bad and needs replacement. If it still trips on the drop cord that’s into another gfci the pump is going bad. The pump is wired to a switch that tells it when to pump out the condensation from that pan. If the hvac doesn’t sense it’s operationally ready it shuts whole system down.

    @Jeppo I’ve been trying to teach you to shoot lol


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. bondjamesbond

    bondjamesbond Senior Member's Elder Charter Member

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    The furnace should not be on a GFCI outlet.
    Replace the GFCI outlet shown with a regular outlet
     
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  13. wvsig

    wvsig Well-Known Member

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    They also get worse the more they are tripped. Some of them now have a constant self test and will tell you when they have gone past their usefulness. I have waterfall pump that trips the GFCI and I know it is the outlet or the run because I can take the pump and plug it into another outlet with a GFCI and it will work fine. My issue is temp related. Super hot or super cold and it trips. You can also get a plugh which will tell you if it is wired correctly, going to ground etc....
     
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  14. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    The FURNACE is on its own circuit.

    The CONDENSATE PUMP is in a GFCI circuit.

    The entire HVAC unit was replaced 6-7 years ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  15. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    The drop cord is on a GFCI circuit.
     
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  16. wvsig

    wvsig Well-Known Member

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    It is my understanding that the pump has to be on a GFCI because water is involved.
     
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  17. Jeppo

    Jeppo Loves Burt Gummer to a fault! Staff Member Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    That GFCI outlet is $13 at Home Depot. I’d invest the $13 and 5 minutes as my next troubleshooting step. ;)
     
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  18. Catfish

    Catfish E Pluribus Mendacium Supporting Member

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    "Replace the GFCI first" has been my electrician's go-to advice.
     
  19. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    It’s never tripped right away, so I’m going to let it run off the drop cord for a full day to see if it trips. If it doesn’t, I’ll replace the outlet.

    If it does trip, I’ll replace the pump.
     
  20. Ferrisfan

    Ferrisfan Got here as soon as I could Supporting Member

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    Might you have a GFCI outlet that is also on a GFCI circuit breaker? That can cause all kinds of wonky trips.
     
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  21. rdinatal

    rdinatal Better late then never...

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    True. On top of that check if that outlet feeds other outlets. There could be another plug in device that just adds up to the trip threshold on that GFCI circuit run.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
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  22. vaskeet

    vaskeet Active Member

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    my question is if the drain in the pan is not clogged why do you need the pump
     
  23. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    the furnace sits below grade, so the condensation has to be pumped UP and out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  24. Pink_Vapor

    Pink_Vapor “Not as funny as he thinks he is”, spouse Supporting Member

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    I've a sump pump that trips the GFI every time it's finished pumping the water out. You can test it by dumping some water into the pan and watch when the pump turns off.
     
  25. Button Pusher

    Button Pusher Well-Known Member Benefactor Supporting Member

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    Weather rated WR GFCI are available now for use outdoors.
     
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  26. teamglock2002

    teamglock2002 Member Life Member

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    @Jeppo I’ve been trying to teach you to shoot lol
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]

    Me too Zack but I'm beginning to think there's no hope for him.:p
     
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  27. bigfelipe

    bigfelipe Phil-osopher... Charter Life Member

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    GFCI outlets suck... A good portion of them are crap new out of the box. Any wear on a motor looks like ground fault to the GFCI. The whole concept is stupid and the NEC knows it.
     
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  28. jjwestbrook

    jjwestbrook Happy to be here Supporting Member

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    that GFI is high enough up the wall if water ever gets that high you have much bigger problems … go to lowes or HD and get a plain receptacle and cove cost $1.50 plug a light source into the GFI and find the breaker . you will know you have the correct breaker when the light goes off. replace GFI with new receptacle and never have trouble again you are correct about the float once enough water gets in pump it breaks low voltage circuit to furnace
     
  29. Jeppo

    Jeppo Loves Burt Gummer to a fault! Staff Member Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    I’ve already learned how to shoot like you. :eek:
     
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  30. teamglock2002

    teamglock2002 Member Life Member

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    :mad::mad::mad: LOL
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
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  31. Schattenreiter

    Schattenreiter Member

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    Seriously!!! o_O:eek::oops::rolleyes:
     
  32. Red Marley

    Red Marley Authorized person Charter Member Supporting Member

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  33. Jeppo

    Jeppo Loves Burt Gummer to a fault! Staff Member Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    Zbizzle911 likes this.
  34. rdinatal

    rdinatal Better late then never...

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    Just hold the wire with your fingers.
     
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  35. ladder13

    ladder13 Active Member

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    The thermostat will not operate when the low voltage circuit is interrupted, correct?
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  36. MacEntyre

    MacEntyre Shoot on Sight! Charter Member Vendor

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    You sound like one of those people who is always buying Lotto tickets...
     
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  37. Schattenreiter

    Schattenreiter Member

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    Safety man, safety.
     
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  38. JimB

    JimB Picking it up slowly. Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I may be getting a reputation for asking the dumb question, but why is your HVAC producing condensate at this time of year? Seems unreasonable given your location.
     
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  39. rdinatal

    rdinatal Better late then never...

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    All high efficiency units generate condensate on the heat cycle. I think it's the same as when water comes out of the tailpipe of a car when it first starts up.

    And yes, you are the best I know with those questions. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
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  40. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Hmmmm