GFCI question- not cutting current

Just inspected a townhouse that has GFCI breaker in the Gould panel, also GFCI receptacle in each bathroom. When the breaker’s test button is tripped, it cuts current completely to the bath outlets (and also the exterior outlet). But, when the test button on the receptacle is tripped, the outlet still shows 30VAC, Open Ground and Open Neutral. 1st - this tester is one I just picked up at Home Depot, is this accurate? I don’t carry a multimeter with me… Maybe indicate a wiring issue? I’ve never seen something like this.

I would note exactly what I observed and recommend further evaluation by a qualified electrician. I am not an electrician, nor claim to be to my clients. I am sure an electrician will chime in soon with much more helpful information.

1 Like

Of course, that’s my plan… just hoping to understand the cause for my benefit.


Me as well. I will be following your post, thanks for posting!

I misread your post… before you pressed the test button on the receptacle, did the tester show correct wiring? Did the reset button work?

I do not believe the tester is picking up any voltage over 30V as shown in your pic, it just shows >30 when there is a wiring condition such as missing neutral (GFCI tripped). Try it on a different GFCI outlet after tripping it. Why it didn’t show you >30 when the breaker was off, I’m not sure. It appears as if the tester sees the hot present after the GFCI receptacle is tripped, thinking neutral and ground are missing (as indicated by the tester). Why would ground be missing? I’m not certain how it is able to determine there is a HOT without either ground or neutral.

Simon, before testing, the tester showed 120vac, and “correct wiring”. As soon as the TEST button on the receptacle is pressed, it goes to 30VAC, “OPEN GRND NEUTRAL”. But when the TEST button on the BREAKER is pressed, it immediately goes to 0 VAC “OPEN HOT”. I’m thinking the GFI Receptacle is either wired incorrectly or is faulty… was hoping someone would be able to enlighten me… not that it matters, this is an inspection for a friend - a Realtor that has referred me numerous times…buying as an investment property. BTW - when the test button is pressed on the receptacle, it does NOT trip the GFCI breaker in the panel. And also, at the kitchen GFCI, yes, it shows 0VAC when the receptacle test button is pressed.

It is a “ghost voltage” that appears only when the outlet is partially disconnected. Notice it does not appear when the entire circuit is disconnected by the breaker. Why would require further diagnosis of other items in the circuit. Just to clarify there need be no “current” flow at all to indicate a voltage (high impedance meter). Current only flows when the circuit has a load (toaster, light bulb, motor, dead short). If you used a low impedance meter (higher load) for your test you would probably not get a voltage reading for either condition.

Interesting - thanks for the insight.