More GFCI info from U/L

[FONT=Verdana]This is from one of my IAEI brothers
[FONT=Verdana]Underwriters Laboratories Advises Consumers Regarding Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

NORTHBROOK, Ill., - Nov. 30, 2007 - Recent testing by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) of samples obtained from both the marketplace and several manufacturers indicates that some GFCI units do not meet all current UL requirements and, under rare conditions, may not trip when a fault is present, resulting in a loss of protection from electric shock.

There have been no reported incidences of these products causing injury in the field, and under normal circumstances UL expects these products will perform their intended function. While GFCIs provide an effective means for protecting against electric shock, UL recommends that they be tested regularly to verify they are operating properly, using the self-test feature that is built into these devices. UL encourages users to test and monitor their GFCIs using the process described below.

UL has notified all manufacturers identified to date whose product samples did not meet all current UL requirements so that they may take appropriate action. UL has not withdrawn its certification mark from existing products nor does UL believe the products should be removed from homes or other locations entailing normal use.

UL may issue further advice as additional testing is conducted and its review proceeds.

Name of Product: Wall receptacle-type Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). Rated 15 or 20 Amps, 125 volts.

Advisory: Under rare conditions, these GFCIs may not trip when a fault is present and may malfunction resulting in a loss of protection from electric shock. There have been no reported incidences of the products causing injury in the field.

Identification: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters look like duplex receptacles but are distinguished by their “Reset” and “Test” buttons.

Uninstalled Product: All affected manufacturers identified to date have been notified. Retailers, contractors and electricians should contact the manufacturer for further information.

Installed GFCIs: If the GFCI is already installed in your home, UL recommends that all GFCIs be tested monthly following these steps:

Push the “Reset” button located on the GFCI receptacle first to assure normal GFCI operation.
Plug a product (such as a lamp) into the GFCI receptacle and turn the product “ON.”
Push the “Test” button located on the GFCI receptacle. The lamp or other appliance should go “OFF.”
Push the “Reset” button, again. The lamp or other appliance should go “ON” again.
Repeat this test with the lamp or other appliance plugged into a receptacle marked “GFCI Protected” in close proximity to the GFCI receptacle. Push the “Test” button again and the lamp should go off.
In addition to the monthly test, UL recommends that GFCIs installed in environments with both sustained high temperatures (greater than 90°F) AND high humidity (greater than 93% relative humidity) be tested with greater frequency. These environments may include some bathrooms and indoor pool areas.

UL recommends that the GFCI be replaced by a qualified electrician if:

The lamp or other appliance plugged into the GFCI remains “ON” when the “Test” button is pushed.
The GFCI does not reset when the “Reset” button is pushed.
The GFCI performs its intended function, but trips repeatedly during normal use. (This may indicate either a faulty appliance or a compromised GFCI. In either case, replacement of the GFCI is recommended and the appliance should be checked for proper operation prior to reuse.)
Finally, with all GFCIs, it is important that consumers not use the unit’s “Test” and “Reset” buttons as an on-off switch for appliances plugged in to the GFCI.

UL urges consumers to continue to use GFCIs, as they play an important role in protecting you and your homes. If your GFCIs require replacement, UL recommends that a qualified electrician does the replacement.[/FONT]
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[FONT=Arial]Everyone take care and be safe,[/FONT]
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Bryan P. Holland, ECO.
City of North Port

Yeah I bet about 1/2 of 1 % ever test their GFCI .
I find ones that do not work correctly and the owner has never tested them .
I would not be surprised if Home Inspectors them selves test their very often .
I know I do test mine but again never as often as I should .
Same with Smoke detectors. TPR again very rarely.

Thanks Greg very Interesting
… Cookie

here’s the UL link, if anyone is interested

Great Post Greg…it should be VERY evident to the members you have passion and care about people by that post alone.

It is yet another reason I would always recommend GFCI Breakers over Receptacles…but both have their limitations.

In the study I found it VERY refreshing that no incidents have been reported as of yet which tells me indeed it is rare situations when the GFCI will not function as it should. The stats done years ago by ASHI reported that nearly 67% of wall mounted GFCI’s failed because of MOV issues and in 2003 the industry made GREAT strives with UL943…

The only caution people also should be aware of is that GFCI’s are not fool proof, they are but a tool in the arsenal of safe working practices. If someone has a GFCI installed and still by some chance get in series with the ungrounded and grounded conductors that a GFCI will not function properly and they can DIE just as easy with or without a GFCI present in that condition.

As we approach the holiday season and many people are putting up lights and being cheerful, lets not forget electricity kills and it is designed to be a perfect killer because of its frequency ( 60hz )…

As you HI’s educate your clients on GFCI’s…also educate them on the fact they are not foolproof…show them the proper way to install a plug, making sure not to touch the prongs…explain that a GFCI will protect in the normal senerio but in rare situations if possibly could not protect…so while we are trying to be safe…we can also be foolish at the same time.

God Bless and Happy Holidays !!!

When Fl IAEI tested existing GFCIs in central Florida they found the breakers actually had a higher failure rate than the device type. (not tripping when “test” was pushed). The suspicion was that lightning was blowing the chip in them.

Quite possible…I am not aware of any study myself other than the one done with GFCI receptacles. The fact is the MOV in GFCI Breakers and GFCI Receptacles suffer from the same potential problems…ends up being a " CHEVY vs. FORD " thing I guess…

But as we all know…they are NEITHER fool proof in the end…use caution.

The square D GFCI breaker I posted the picture of here a few days ago doesn’t seem to have an MOV in it. Certainly not one big enough to take much of a shot


Read this article…yes a MOV is in there…be it small it is present to assist in surges that can damage the circuitry.

Interesting enough…I learned this from the article and it is MASSIVE support for your statement earlier about GFCI Breakers…ironic huh…

In parts of Florida, up to 58 percent of the GFCI circuit breakers were defective, and 33 percent of the receptacles. Of the states from which information was obtained, Washington state had least number of failures. The survey covered parts of New York, Florida, Texas, California, Washington, and Illinois. IAEI, ASHI, and the National Electrical Manufacturing Association are joining forces get data from each state to give a true picture of the failures throughout the United States.

If the MOV isn’t the size of a penny (or larger) it won’t have the capacity to dissipate much of a spike. That may be the problem. These things are basically resistors (Metal Oxide Varistor) and they need to dissipate heat.