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GFCI Autopsy


Justin Hernandez

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The housing boom was in full swing here a little over ten years ago and tons of gated community's were built. The builders and subcontractors always want cheap labor and cheap material when it came to building the homes. Fast forward to today and these cheap GFCI's they installed are failing like crazy also the doorbells have a high failure rate. I have changed more doorbell components and GFCI this year than I have probably in my whole career. It looks like these GFI and doorbells are only lasting ten years which is not a long life span. The doorbell contractor kits they installed only cost $12 which includes 2 push buttons, door chime, and the transformer cheap junk!! Every time troubleshooting a doorbell two components are usually bad and sometimes all three components are bad, it is always the push button plus either the transformer or the door chime. All the GFI are all failing the same way they will not reset power, so they have to be changed. So I started opening the bad GFI's up to see why they are failing and a lot of them have burned up inside. I don't know what brand name they are because it doesn't say and I don't think they are UL listed. I can't believe how these things are failing by the hundreds, this might be the next big lawsuit. It has made work boring because everyone is calling for no power in the bathrooms or kitchen do to GFI failure and that dang doorbell doesn't work. One property management company got suspicious when every call I did turned out to be the same thing with the same price. So they fired me got some else they found the same problems so they hired me again a week later..lol Hopefully you find the GFCI autopsy interesting if you never seen inside one before. It looks like things slowed down a little bit because of the holidays I guess people don't what to fix there doorbell to hear there relatives ring the doorbell when they come over for the holidays..lol  Plus you can't fix your hair in the bathroom or charge your phone in the kitchen because the outlet doesn't work so go home drunk uncle John..lmao

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Very interesting post. It's like they always say, "they don't make them like they used to!"

Its sad but that's the truth, it doesn't matter what it is nothing beats the old stuff.

 

Great post Justin. It's amazing how much goes inside of a GFCI outlet...

Yea it is, compared to a regular outlet which just has some metal and plastic. 

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Man thats bad,you'd think that would be a fire hazard. You get what you pay for i guess. I like leviton stuff.  Thanks for sharing.

I wouldn't call it a fire hazard, I've seen some crazy things over the years and those places haven't burned down yet. I'm a huge Leviton guy that's all I install for residential and light commercial.

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Thanks for posting. i never realized that there was that much inside.

The first time I opened one up I was amazed and never complained about the price of a GFI ever again

 

Leviton is a cool company,they had reps that would come out to some of the electrical classes I took in college.

Yup they are quite innovative, I think they were the first one's to come out with AFCI outlet (arc fault circuit interrupter). Plus there usb outlets are the only one's I like all the other one's look ugly.

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Personally I like P&S for my GFIs. 

I only use P&S when industrial grade devices are needed which isn't much. I bought two 3 pack GFIs from Lowes in a pinch and two were dead out the box and they were in the same pack. It wouldn't have been a huge deal but the place had no power when I installed them so I couldn't test them. About three weeks later the place gets power and I get a call saying no power in kitchen so I had to go back on my dime. I've had one Leviton fail a few weeks after install and it was outside so I won't even blame them. This was before the weather resistant GFIs came into the industry. I've changed old Levition GFIs that are install outdoors that just fall apart when you open the box but that happens to every brand in an outdoor application. 

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I had to tell a Facebook friend to call an electrician she was having an issue with breakers tripping and the circuit breaker was hot to the touch. People were telling her to use surge protector I was like you need to get an electrician out and see wtf is going on!! A hot to the touch breaker isn't a good thing!!

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I had to tell a Facebook friend to call an electrician she was having an issue with breakers tripping and the circuit breaker was hot to the touch. People were telling her to use surge protector I was like you need to get an electrician out and see wtf is going on!! A hot to the touch breaker isn't a good thing!!

There was a house just across the road that burned because the breaker was so hot that it melted the plastic and caught the carpet beneath it on fire. I didn't think that that was possible.
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I had to tell a Facebook friend to call an electrician she was having an issue with breakers tripping and the circuit breaker was hot to the touch. People were telling her to use surge protector I was like you need to get an electrician out and see wtf is going on!! A hot to the touch breaker isn't a good thing!!

A lot of things can cause hot breakers, sometimes the breakers are old and worn out. But most of the time the bus bar on the panel is burned up. Did they find the problem yet?

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From the update I saw they figured everything out. The scariest thing i ever saw was this house my friend bought. Long story short the he knew the older couple that lived there and the old man was one of those guys that just made something work without safety in mind. Well when we looked at the electrical he had a 220 line just twisted with no wire nuts or even electrical tape on the bare wire also there was no box cover either. A good 3/4's of the house had to be rewired!!

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