Originally Posted by campnqueen
Thoughts? Comments? Warnings?
Paula and Ken,
Remember that a GFCI outlet compares the return current on the neutral (white) wire to the supplied current on the hot (black) wire in order to determine if you have a high resistance short (you in the circuit) or a high resistance loss (loose wire) that could cause a fire due to heat burning up the wires. For comparison, a Circuit breaker protects you from LOW resistance current loss (dead short or high current draw).
The GFCI outlet by Code is the first outlet that requires protection (like by a sink) and by it's nature ALL outlets downstream from the GFCI also receive that protection. Replacing a GFCI outlet with a NON-GFCI outlet is not only a violation of the electrical code; it is down right unsafe.
As to why a GFCI will trip under load has to do with that comparison we were talking about. If there is a high resistance connection at that outlet or any outlet downstream, the GFCI will trip off line.
So, with the circuit's power breaker turned off, check:
1) all connections behind the wall plate for looseness and corrosion. This is harder to do than you might think since they are "push in" connections and you might have a bad one. Wiggle each wire and see if it moves in the hole. If it does it needs to be replaced. (If this is the GFCI, it must be replaced with a GFCI)
2) If all is tight and bright, make sure you found them all. If there are two shielded cables going into the outlet box, there is another outlet somewhere down the line. Keep looking till you find it. I had no idea I had two GFCI protected outlets on either side of the master bedroom bed because they were covered by the mattress.
3) You can not plug a GFCI protected circuit into a GFCI protected source (like some generators) because they do not play well together.