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Warm GFI Receptacle


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Wondering if anyone knew whether a GFI receptacle with nothing plugged into it, would normally be around 5 degrees warmer than the surrounding wall.

I happened to find this by accident. When I was re-setting the test button after tripping it with a circuit tester, the receptacle was slightly warm to the touch. Using a infra-red theromometer a found the receptacle to be 70 degrees and the surrounding wall next to it at 65 degrees.

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Hi to all,

Dennis, I was convinced that you had lost your mind so I went and started checking the temps on mine at home, and you are correct about them reading 4-5 degrees higher. all of which got me thinking about why this phenomenon was present, then I remembered that GFCI's have energized coils and resistors [:-bulb]

Check out this link:

http://www.codecheck.com/gfci_principal.htm

Regards

Gerry

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Originally posted by Gerry Beaumont

Hi to all,

Dennis, I was convinced that you had lost your mind so I went and started checking the temps on mine at home, and you are correct about them reading 4-5 degrees higher. all of which got me thinking about why this phenomenon was present, then I remembered that GFCI's have energized coils and resistors [:-bulb]

Check out this link:

http://www.codecheck.com/gfci_principal.htm

Regards

Gerry

Gerry, I have lost my mind, but that's a topic for another thread.

I kind of figured that there was some electrical activity going on with the GFI's. I can't believe this was the first time I detected the difference and actually thought about.

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  • 1 month later...

We had some new GFCI outlets (and circuits) installed recently. I noticed that the outlets usually seem slightly warmer than the areas around them, also with nothing plugged in. Is this something that happens more with the newer GFCIs? We have two older ones (maybe 3-4 years old) that never feel warm. Also, the temperature of the new GFCIs seems to fluctuate between "normal" and slightly warm, also when nothing is plugged in.

After noticing the warmness, I was a little concerned and did a search. The following is from this site: http://www.handymanusa.com/index.html

GFCI Slightly Warm

Is it normal for a GFCI outlet to become slightly warm (not at all hot)when nothing is plugged into it? This is normal household wiring with no big loads on circuit; 12 gauge copper on a 15 amp breaker.

It isn't normal for the outlet to get warm, especially when nothing is plugged into it. But if you have a rather large load wired further down from it, it would explain it. Your wiring size is in excess of required, so that isn't a problem. Just to be sure, you can check the connections on the breaker,. (make sure the circuit is off at the time, of course) . Heat=resistance. Because GFI's have "load" terminals on them- to feed downstream circuits- the GFI could indeed become "warm" with nothing "plugged in". In other words, although the outlet itself doesn't have a load on it (something plugged in), it could be supplying current to other outlets with a load on them. Coupled with loose/poor connections at the GFI which = resistance, you could have a "warm" outlet. Better check the connections on the GFI.

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Is this something to be concerned about? I'm not sure how to check the connections on the breaker! The work was done by a qualified electrician, so the gauge and amps should be appropriate, one would think.

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Originally posted by Kirsty

Is this something to be concerned about?

Probably not, but the only way to know would be to have the possible causes of abnormal heat checked by a second qualified electrician. The earlier posts suggest that this is not at all an unusual thing, and may well be related to the amount of electronic components packed into the units. The design could well have changed (or simply be different) from that of the older ones. If they're only a little warm, it would not alarm me (personally).


I'm not sure how to check the connections on the breaker! The work was done by a qualified electrician, so the gauge and amps should be appropriate, one would think.

I definitely do not recommend fooling around in the main panel (where the breaker is). You can never be absolutely sure about anyone you hire, but the odds are more in favor of a simple explanation. Just remember that if you decide to have the wiring checked again, use someone else.

If I say anymore I'll have to have you sign my contract and send you a bill. [:D]

Brian G.

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Brian, thank you for your comments. I appreciate your taking the time to respond. We're planning to have the wiring rechecked by another contractor. I'll post a follow-up here, in case anyone's interested.

If I say anymore I'll have to have you sign my contract and send you a bill.

No! Anything but that!

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Originally posted by Kirsty

I'll post a follow-up here, in case anyone's interested.

Please do...more input is better.

If I say anymore I'll have to have you sign my contract and send you a bill.

No! Anything but that!

Aw, come on...just a little one...? [:-vamp]

Brian G.

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