Yes, to trip or not to trip

I’ve been doing pre-listing inspections of some real big homes, often full of people’s things, often piled against the walls because they’re getting ready to move.
A lot of GFCI’s around plumbing fixtures are protected by a GFCI with a test button located somewhere upstream, but not always near the one you’re testing, and not always configured logically. At least if the GFCI is inside, you have a chance to hear the button click off and try to guess in which room full of junk to go start looking. If you’re testing exterior outlets… forget it. It could be anywhere! Behind that bottom drawer in the bathroom vanity. I think I need a GFC-ing I dog.

It is very tempting to disclaim them. I waste a lot of time trying to find these things and some people get all bent out of shape if they have to go without power to outlets so leaving them off is a poor option.

Anybody got a good suggestion? -Kent

I feel ya’ brother. Here is one that I found yesterday after about 15 minutes. . .



On occupied homes, trip the ones you can see and leave them tripped until you find the dead outlets. Then reset and go back to make sure the dead outlets are back on. On vacant homes if outlets end up dead, write it up, the buyer should be able to find the reset easily.

My Views-

You need to TEST all GFCI’s regardless of the possible time issues…in other words better SAFE and TESTED than SORRY and DEAD…thus a lawsuit if you did not test them…some are just plain faulty.

Now…I am not immune to this issue also…I trip ALL receptacles that are supposed to be GFCI protected…then I go hunting as well…but I also assume the electrician followed some basic principles when doing it…but not always the case in older homes where they DABBLED in GFCI’s when they were first expanded.

Point is…I am one of those that believe you test EVERY receptacle and GFCI as well…NOW…in Jeff’s case…I would probably write the one up on the left as not accessible…but again I can’t tell from a pic and he obviously got to it…

I see many GFCI’s to whirlpools that can’t be accessed very easy…I write them up…sorry…thats just me and my style…If I can’t get to them I know the consumer is not going to be able to get to them…

Plus…when I trip one outside…and have to HUNT for it…I note that in my report so the client knows EXACTLY where the reset for this one is…I like to think of it as a courtesy…and they EAT it up…doing those little things extra and VOICING it as an extra wins ALOT of praise…and Referrals possibly.

Back some time ago Electricians used to connect the Bathroom GFCI’s with the Outside GFCI’s…obviously not something you can do today…BUT if you are in an older home…Start There…if they have a garage…Start There once you trip the outside unit…just a progression really but to be honest with you…if you spend the time to verify it you do the client a better service, you HELP explain where things are and you also know 100% if the unit worked at the time of inspection…

I wish I had a $ 1.00 for every receptacle I did not test in the OLD days ( early 90’s before I started seeing a trend ) and come to get that funny feeling I should test one more in the room and WHAMO…Reverse Pol or False Ground…So with that said…I just prefer to test them all and it does not need to take alot of time…I use a cheap tester to prime the check and if it gives me something I dont like…use the Suretest on it…

The extra time…just part of doing business…I am not a 2 hour inspector…most homes I inspect take me 4 to 4 1/2 hours anyway…

Ok…just my OPINION…to each his own…but you wanted thoughts on it…:slight_smile:

Be careful not to trip the one in the backyard by the patio door and then find out that the opener for the closed vault style garage is plugged into the receptacle with the reset button.:slight_smile: </IMG>

I once tripped an exterior GFCI and it killed a goldfish pond aerator. I could not reset it because the reset was somewhere in the garage, which was stuffed with the occupants furniture and belongings. Had to leave the owner a note telling them what I did and what they need to do.

Now we all know how to get into JOHN’s house…tehehhee…

MY regards to the Gold Fish…:slight_smile:

We did one a month ago when we tested the GFCI it tripped somewhere. We looked high and low, in the garage in other baths, in the kitchen even found the electric blue print which the electrician didn’t follow. Never thought to look outside. Since the owner was there she said she’d have her son come over.