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DO GFI SWITCHES HAVE TO BE REPLACED EVERY 10 YEARS ??

 
 
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 10:18 am
I was told this by an electrician. We had many GFI's installed when we started doing the total redo of this old farmhouse. Shall I be worried and get them replaced ?
 
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hightor
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 01:16 pm
@farmerman,
They do tend to fail over time, although I have a few that are still working after 25 years. I think it's a standard safety schedule — safer to replace them after a certain amount of time than to take the chance of someone being electrocuted or at least getting a shock. You could use the test button and start by replacing any that are obviously faulty.
edgarblythe
 
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Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 01:21 pm
Mine work since 1983.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 02:06 pm
@hightor,
What's iin the switches that fails?? I can understand the nuke sensor in smoke detectors . If I push the on/off button an th GFI DOES NOT light up, I guess its going downhill??

I dont **** with wiring bcause I have no use in my left arm and hand so Id be doing verything on handed.
Guess Ill call the electrician if the testing proves a switch isnt working properly
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 02:11 pm
@edgarblythe,
when a GFI breaks down, it merely becomes a reglar socket, no GFI"ness left.(All this Ive been told by a guy who knows)
Region Philbis
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 02:12 pm
@farmerman,

my FIL is a GFI expert -- i'll run it by him...
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 02:27 pm
@farmerman,
That's often true. Sometimes they refuse to be reset. You have to test them occasionally.
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hightor
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 02:47 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
What's in the switches that fails??

From what I understand, there's a voltage surge protector for the GFCI sensing circuit and this surge protector can fail due to lightning or other voltage surges.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 03:09 pm
@hightor,
ahhh, its more truma than just normal wear and tear??
Am I close??

Ive never given a seconds thought to these things m no they are an obsession to see that our kitchen implements and cooking stuff and audio/video equip.
Our house sits atop a hill and it looks like a porcupine with all the lightning rods. We get hit by lightning a LOT.
0 Replies
 
mesquite
  Selected Answer
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 04:11 pm
@farmerman,
Testing GFCI Outlets.

According to the link above, it depends upon when your GFCIs were made. It seems that GFCIs made prior to mid 2006 can fail in a way that they no longer protect, but continue to provide power. The built in test button on these GFCIs cannot detect the failure. For these GFCIs you need to test them with a tester to verify if they still function correctly.

GFCIs made after mid 2006 do not have this problem. The built in test button is sufficient to test them.


farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 05:20 pm
@mesquite,
interesting. The ones in the house are all pre 2006 but the ones out in our new building are all post 2014. So I guess I can just test those by pushing the buttons.

Ill invest in a GFI tester
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 08:08 pm
@farmerman,
You all gave me great advice, hightor for opening my eyes to the possibility of finite lives of GFI's . Egar, perhaps you should check yours bcause they may just be acting like regular sockets so be careful.
Im really amazed at how little the electricians gave me regarding this, and how almost all my friends had no isea ither. The one guy who did know is a pretty persistent "know it all" he used to teach optical physics and hes Oriental, (not that theres anything wrong with that). He just has this "Oh yeh idnt you know that ****??"

I didnt ralize how, after aach close by hit from a T storm we should tst the GFI's out. Lightning rods do a very good job in preventing the house from burning down, they dont prevent any internal components from getting fried.

0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 08:26 pm
@mesquite,
Thank you, mesquite. I also found that we needed to reset both bathroom GFI's when the power went out.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Sep, 2019 09:43 pm
The one in my bathroom needs replaced, but in the kitchen is fine. It likely was replaced when the room was remodeled last.
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Region Philbis
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Sep, 2019 02:29 am
my FIL wrote:
They do NOT have to be replaced every 10 years.  If they were made by Leviton Manufacturing Co., and are older than 23 years, they should be tested at least every month, AND IF THEY TRIP, SHOULD BE TESTED AFTER THEY WERE RESET.  To test the GFCI, push the "Test" button.  The GFCI should click, and they should NOT supply power to the outlet.  Next push the "Reset" button and power should now be present at the outlet.

IF THERE IS POWER AT THE OUTLET AFTER THE “TEST BUTTON” IS PUSHED, THEN THE GFCI SHOULD BE REPLACED BECAUSE IT IS NOT PERFORMING ITS SAFETY FEATURE.

If they were not made by Leviton, I do not know if the other companies are using the newer electronic circuit that Leviton invented (around 1996).  This new circuit will NOT ALLOW THE GFCI TO SUPPLY POWER IF THE SAFETY FEATURE IS NOT WORKING.  However it is a good idea to test the GFCI regularly anyway.

As to what fails, the electromagnet that caused the device to trip is designed to trip in less than 25 thousands (0.025) of a second.  In order to accomplish this, and still have the product fit into a wall outlet box, we overload the electromagnetic coil.  The power to the coil turns off after the device ice trips which usually happens in about .016 seconds.  If there is something that would keep the coil from burning out after it trips, then the GFCI will fail to perform as required.

This type of acceptance of a possible failure is similar to the electric starter motor in a car.  If you would build a starter motor that could run continually, it would have to be built larger than the gasoline engine.  A GM engineer whose last name is Kettering invented this.  He is one half of the pair who supplied lots of money to Sloan Kettering.

One time I was sent two GFCI's that came in from a trailer campsite.  I took them apart and found they were full of dead  ants.  I think that the ants were attracted to the GFCI either because the internal powder supply emits a small amount of heat, or we used a varnish to keep the printed circuit board dry and the varnish could have been an ant delicacy.

I think the ants were electrocuted when a group of them made a conductive path between the two power wires.  The others might have also been electrocuted,or the heat was enough to wipe them out too
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Joeblow
 
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Reply Sat 7 Sep, 2019 06:39 am
Good info here. Thanks. Plus, I enjoyed reading it. Bonus.
0 Replies
 
 

 
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