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Since I'm not an electrician...

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by TresK3, May 22, 2013.

  1. TresK3

    TresK3 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    ...I need confirmation on something. (and since I'm not a trained electrician, I hope I'm using my terminology correctly)

    We plugged in the dehumidifier in the garage and turned it on. Very quickly it started tripping the ground-fault interrupt. I checked the dehumidifier wiring with my meter and got some continuity (about 5K resistance) between the neutral end on the plug and the ground. I believe the resistance should be infinite (no continuity). Yes?

    I pulled the neutral wire off, where it goes into a "distributor box" (??), leaving a pigtail from the plug with one leg going to the switch and the other to the motor. If I disconnect the switch leg, I still get continuity on the neutral side of the plug. I can't disconnect the motor leg, short of cutting the wire. I assume from this that the motor has a short. Yes? Or can I not tell, just from what I've done?

    I'm guessing my only easy option is to ditch this dehumidifier and buy a new one - replacing the motor wouldn't be worth the time or trouble.

    Have I diagnosed this correctly? Am I missing anything? Do I have any other (good) options?

    TIA,
    Tres

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  2. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    did you try something else in the outlet? some appliances dont work well in gfci outlets
  3. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    If you were touching the leads while measuring, you might get a false reading. But I do believe that you should not get any continuity between neutral and ground on an appliance when it isn't plugged in. As briansol said, some motors will trip a GFI when nothing is wrong.
  4. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Unless the manual specifically states to plug it into a gfci I'd try a regular outlet in the garage, or another gfci


    I just replaced all the gfci outside at my mother's house because they popped when you plugged anything in, but with a reset would be fine. At least until you didn't use it for a while again.
  5. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    GFIs do get weak (and over sensitive) over time. Is there a GFI built into the dehu? If so you may have 2 gfis working against each other that usually results in one of them tripping.
  6. TresK3

    TresK3 Member

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    Loc:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    There is not a GFI built into the dehumidifier - at least, there's no place to reset one. We've used that dehumidfier in that same outlet for two years now. It's possible that the GFI is going bad. Is there any way to check that, or do I have to just replace it and see? (I have a newer GFI in the kitchen... I suppose I could move the dehumidifier up there and try it).

    At this point, I'm a little hesitant to run it on a non-GFI outlet, at least until I know whether there's a short in the motor.

    Thanks.
  7. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I think the OP is making a correct assessment.
  8. TresK3

    TresK3 Member

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    Loc:
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    Drug the dehumidifier upstairs, plugged it into a GFI in the kitchen and it tripped even faster (I didn't even have to turn the motor on). From there, I drug it back to the garage. Anyone want a boat anchor? First person to claim it before trash day, gets it!

    Thanks, all.
  9. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    yep you got a leaky compressor. it common for compressors to do this. you could change the receptacle back to a receptacle without gfi protection but if your ground is not good and you touch the dehum and something else that is grounded you could be in for a wakeup call. as long as you ground is ok it shouldn't be a problem and that dehum could run for years like that. it used to happen alot with coke machines. no one ever got killed even in the rain, as long as your ground is good.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. We have a dehumidifier in the greenhouse on a GFCI. No issues at all. I wouldn't trash it. Put it up on your local freecycle network, yard sale or give it to goodwill.

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