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2014

How to wire GFCI devices

Wiring diagrams also apply to AFCI (arc fault) devices
Combination GFCI
Combination GFCI
Switch & plug
GFCI receptacle
Leviton GFCI receptacle
GFCI nite lite
Leviton GFCI nite lite
GFCI nite lite
Leviton GFCI with LED lite
Leviton GFCI pilot light
Leviton GFCI pilot light
Decora wall-plates
Decora wall-plates
Buy
Leviton Combination GFCI
Combination GFCI  Amazon

Resources:
How to wire GFCI combo
Buy
GFCI receptacle
Slim design for ez install
1.03 inch depth
GFCI receptacles Amazon

Resources:
How to wire GFCI receptacle
Buy
Leviton GFCI w nite lite
GFCI nite lights Amazon

Resources:
How to wire GFCI nite lite
Buy
Leviton GFCI w nite light
Slim design for ez install

Resources:
How to wire GFCI w/ LED
Buy
Leviton GFCI pilot light
GFCI pilot lights Amazon
Pilot indicates power status
Resources:
How to wire GFCI pilot
Buy
Decora wall-plates
Decora wall-plates
Decora wall-plates
Resources:
Basic house wiring

Troubleshoot GFCI

GFCI will not reset
Spa is tripping GFCI
How GFCI works
How GFCI protects you
Troubleshhot GFCI with FAQ

GFCI manuals

Pass and Seymour Combo-GFCI manual
Leviton Combo-GFCI manual
Lutron GFCI outlet manual
GFCI pilot light manual
Leviton GFCI-related manuals
Installing and testing GFCI
Arc Fault circuit breaker
AFCI-GFCI circuit breaker installation and troubleshoot/ pdf
GFCI
Larger image
What is GFCI?
Ground fault outlet detects grounded circuit that can potentially electrocute you.
For example:. You plug-in extension cord. Then use power tool while standing in water. Or wet grass. Electricity wants to flow to ground through easiest path. Since you are standing on wet ground, electricity can jump from power tool and race through your body to ground.
This will kill instantly.
GFCI instantly detects open circuit, and cuts power so electricity is stopped.

Same can happen while holding electric shaver and touch metal faucet. Faucets are grounded because metal pipe is bonded into ground. Homes with plastic or pex plumbing might not conduct to ground, but risk is present so GFCI is code in each bathroom, kitchen anywhere water and electric outlets are both present.
Outdoor plugs, kitchen plugs and bathroom plugs are GFCI protected.

What is a ground rod

Take a metal pole or pipe or rod. For household electric service, use copper ground rod from hardware store.
Hammer the metal into the dirt. The deeper, the better. Up to 8 feet deep.
Attach piece bare copper wire using grounding clamp.
Use tester, Test between bare copper wire and Hot side of outlet (the narrow blade), and it will show live power potential.
You can be a ground rod whenever standing on bare ground. Or by touching any metal that goes into the ground, like a water pipe, or faucet connected to the water pipe. GFCI protects you from ground faults.
Ground wire is not discussed further on this page.
See electricity from power pole to breaker box
Outlet polarityGFCI outlet tester       Polarity and grounding
Wires should always connect to correct side of outlet.
Wide blade is Neutral. Narrow blade is Hot.
Many appliances and TVs have polarized plug. This is so Hot and Neutral can work correctly with electronics inside device. If outlet is wired incorrectly, then appliances and timers, GFCI's etc don't work as expected.
Buy:
GFCI tester
Resources:
How to wire 240Volt outlets
How to wire 3-phase outlets
Wire nuts
How to identify Hot and Neutral wires
Following description does not mention ground wires. All ground wires are either twisted together or attached to green ground screw exactly like ordinary outlets, and are not immediately important for understanding how to wire GFCI.
So which wire is Hot and which is Neutral?
1) Each residential box (excluding 240Volt boxes, 3-way switches, and some single light switches) will have 1 Hot wire and 1 Neutral wire that comes from circuit breaker.
For example each circuit breaker supplies power to one area of home. To do this, the Hot wire and Neutral wire leave breaker box and travel to a junction box. The junction is usually a ceiling box where light fixture is attached. But any box can be a junction box. From the junction box, the Hot and Neutral split off and jump from one box to the next box, and to the next box. The very last box will have 1 Hot and 1 Neutral, and no additional wires. So each box between the last box and the junction box will have several wires.
Despite having several wires, there will be only 1 Hot and 1 Neutral in each box. Hot wires are usually black
Each switch will connect to Hot wire, but not to Neutral.
Each outlet will connect to both Hot and Neutral. So if you see a Black wire that connects to both a switch and outlet, then that is the Hot wire.
Neutral wires are usually white and are twisted together and covered with wire nut, then pushed to back of box
GFCI has an outlet, so it will connect to both Hot and Neutral, just like ordinary outlet.
To identify the Hot and Neutral: Take photo of wires so everything can be put back. Separate all wires except bare ground wires. Tape tester leads to wood sticks for safety. Stand on dry boards, and never on wet surface. Turn power on. Test each wire to bare ground wire. Only 1 wire will light up tester. This is the Hot wire. Next test Hot wire to all other wires except bare ground. Tester will light up on Neutral wire.
So the Hot and Neutral are identified, and these wires will connect to the GFCI Line Screws.
How to wire outlet
Larger image
Start with ordinary outlet
Ground wire is connected exactly same on ordinary outlet and GFCI outlet:

Ground wires connects to green screws, and all ground wires are twisted together and covered with wire nut

Ordinary outlet
has 1 Hot wire from circuit breaker and 1 Neutral wire from Neutral busbar.
See inside main breaker box
Ground wire is not shown, and connects to green ground screw.

Ordinary outlets have screws on each side.
The Hot side screws feed power to the narrow blades.
The Hot side screws are brass, and Neutral side screws are silver.
The Hot side screws are bonded (electrically connected) to each other by break-away fin. So wire that is connected to one screw also feeds power to other screw.
To separate brass screws on Hot side, remove break-away fin

The Neutral side screws are also connected to each other by a metal plate.
GFCI outlet
Look on back of device for marks identifying Line and Load
GFCI outlet is different than ordinary outlet
Hot side has narrow blade/ Neutral side has wide blade = same as ordinary outlet
There is no break-away fin because all 4 screws on GFCI are independent of each other

There are two set of screws on GFCI outlet, same as ordinary outlet.
Except each screw is independent and not connected by metal. So all 4 GFCI screws are independent.
Back of GFCI device identifies Line screws and Load screws.
Load screws are usually covered with yellow tape when device is fresh out of box.

Hot and Neutral wires from breaker box attach to Line screws, as illustrated.
At this point, anything plugged into the GFCI outlet is protected from fault.
Both outlets are GFCI protected at this point, and Load screws are not used

1) Load screws are usually covered with yellow tape when device is purchased. This indicates that GFCI is wired differently than ordinary outlet.

2) If you want more outlets and switches protected by same GFCI, then attach wires to Load screws, as illustrate below.
3) If you do NOT want GFCI protection on subsequent outlets and switches, then attach wires to Line screws, as illustrated below.
Buy:
GFCI outlets at Amazon
GFCI outlets
Look on back of GFCI device for marks identifying Line and Load
Connect additional outlets or switches to GFCI

All devices connected to Load screws
ARE GFCI-protected

This is true for switches and outlets

Maximum 12 boxes per circuit breaker.
A circuit consists of all boxes on 1 circuit breaker

Buy:
GFCI outlets at Amazon

Look on back of GFCI device for marks identifying Line and Load
Devices connected to Line screws are ARE NOT GFCI-protected

This is true for switches and outlets.
This technique lets installer put GFCI in bathroom, but other outlets in bedroom are not protected for example.

Maximum 12 boxes per circuit
A circuit consists of all boxes on 1 circuit breaker
GFCI outlet and switch wiring All devices connected to Load screws ARE GFCI-protected


Outlets, switch and light fixture are GFCI protected with connected to Load screws
How to wire switches
GFCI combo device
Cooper VGFS15V-M-L
Look on back of device for marks identifying Line and Load

Line and Load screws on combo device are wired identical to ordinary GFCI outlet illustrated top of page 
How to wire GFCI Combo switch and outlet

With the combo GFCI device, both the outlet and switch are GFCI protected.
The light fixture will connect to switch output wires.
Light fixture is GFCI protected
Line and Load screws are identified on back of device

Example Combo devices:
Buy:
GFCI combo outlet switch at Amazon
 

Ordinary combination switch and outlet

Combination switch outlet
Ordinary switch-outlet combo
Larger image
Start with ordinary combo device
TAKE PHOTO OF WIRES BEFORE STARTING
Wires from ordinary combo device will each be connected differently when connected to GFCI combo.
NOTE: illustration shows Ordinary combo device before GFCI.
Screws and wires are labeled: Brass screws #1 #2 #3, and wires 1 2 3 4.  The box may have more wires. Note which screw each wire connects to. Note which wires are on same side as narrow blade, and which wires are on wide blade.
Remember the outlet has a wide blade and narrow. The narrow is Hot side.

Illustration shows ordinary combo device.
Illustration shows Hot and Neutral
Illustration shows wire connects to brass screw #3 > and this wire will not connect to a screw on GFCI combo.
Illustration shows connects to Neutral > these two wires will not be connected together on GFCI combo, so remove wire nut.

Step 1: Identify the Hot and Neutral wires using test shown above.
Read steps above How to test for Hot and Neutral.
Hot will connect to narrow-blade side of device
Neutral will connect to wide-blade side of device

Step 2: Identify both wires that go to light:   
Illustration shows that wire  is connected to Brass screw #3, and wire  is connected to Neutral wire with wire nut.
Notice that brass screw #3 is on wide-blade side of device.

GFCI combination switch and outlet


GFCI combination wiring
Illustration shows typical GFCI combo device.
Your device can vary slightly
GFCI combo will have switch output wires sticking out of back.

Step 4: Identify Line and Load screws
Look on back of GFCI device for markings that show Line and Load

Step 5: Connect Hot and Neutral to Line screws as illustrated
Hot connects to brass Line screw on same side of device as narrow outlet blade.
Remember the outlet has a wide blade and narrow blade.
Neutral connects to other Line screw

Step 6 Connect light to Switch Output wires as illustrated
Black Wire  is connected to output wire on same side of device as narrow outlet blade
White Wire is connected to other output wire

Does it make a difference when Black and White are reversed? Yes and no. The light will work but the wiring is not code and can pose danger, except the GFCI is designed to protect from that danger.
Troubleshoot household electric
Step 7: If there are more wires in the box:

If the light switch controls more than 1 light fixture, then look for additional black wire connected to brass screw #3 on original combo device.
These additional wires will also connect to switch output wires on back of GFCI combo.
Step 8: If there are more + wires in the box:
Read all steps shown from top of this page so this explanation makes sense.

If the box also feeds power to another box, then look for additional black wire connected to black screw #2 or screw #1 on original combo device.
Remember the wire from the circuit breaker travels from one box to the next and to the next.

Connect the additional wires to the Load screws as shown in illustration if you want GFCI protection for other boxes -or- connect these wires to the Line screws if you do NOT want GFCI protection on other boxes.

Ground wires are not shown, and connect to green ground screws, and are twisted together and covered with wire nut.
Written instruction for installing GFCI outlet:
Turn power OFF. Check power is actually OFF.
Loosen screws holding outlet to box. Pull outlet out of box.
Take photos of wire location on each screw. Black Hot wires should be on brass-colored screws. White Neutral wires on Silver-colored screws
Remove wires from screws on side of device.
If wires are connected with quick connects located on back of outlet: Rotate outlet 1/4 turn and bend face of outlet so it faces floor.
Push small screwdriver into slot next to each quick-connect wire. Pull wires loose from quick connects.
Notice each cable that enters box will have 1 black and 1 white wire. Only 1 cable has Black Hot wire from breaker box. Need to identify this Black Hot wire
Separate all wires for testing.
Turn power ON. Tape tester leads to wood sticks to keep hands away from power. Stand on dry boards. Never stand on bare ground or wet surface. Do not lean or touch anything metal.
Test each black wire to bare ground wire. Only 1 Black wire in the box is Hot wire. This wire will light up tester when testing to ground.
Once Black Hot is identified, test same wire to white wire that arrives in same cable. This is the Black Hot and White Neutral.
Test all other switches and outlets on the same breaker to see which are OFF and which are ON. The outlets and switches that are OFF are down-line from your new GFCI installation.
Turn power OFF. Mark Black Hot and White Neutral wires.
New GFCI outlet will have yellow tape over two screws. Will also have two screws uncovered. One screw is brass-colored. One screw is silver-colored.
Connect Black Hot wire to brass-colored screw. Connect White Neutral to silver-colored screw.
Other black wires in box will connect to same brass-colored screw with Black Hot -or- other black wires in box connect to brass-colored screw that is coved with yellow tape.
Other white wires in box will connect to same silver-colored screw with White Neutral -or- other white wires in box connect to silver-colored screw that is coved with yellow tape.
Only connect wires to screws cover with yellow tap when you want the other outlets and switches down-line to be GFCI protected.
If other outlets and switches down-line do NOT require GFCI protection, then do not connect any wire to screws that are covered with yellow tape.
Connect green ground wires, or bare copper wire to green-colored ground screw.
Re-install GFCI into box.
Turn power ON using Test button located on GFCI device. Next check that all switches and outlets down-line have power and are working correctly.
If down-line switches and outlets are connected to screws that were covered with yellow tape, they should be OFF when GFCI is tripped off.
Test GFCI and turn power off using GFCI. Then rte-check the switches and outlets down-line.

Spa tripping GFCI

Spa tripping GFCI

Heated bathtub tripping GFCI
Turn power off.
DO NOT BY-pass GFCI.
DO NOT use this spa until problem is found.
1) Check for water leak on tub, especially around electrical connections, switch, etc.
2) Test heating element for ground fault. Power is OFF. How to test element
GFCI will not reset

Intermatic IG1240RC3

Whole house surge protector

How to wire whole house surge protector
GFCI circuit breakers
Larger image

GFCI circuit breakers

Single pole and double pole
White wire connects to Neutral busbar.

Avoid double GFCI protection










CH and BR breaker

How to wire 1-pole 120Volt GFCI circuit breaker

Single pole
Hot wire(s) connect to breaker in ordinary way.
GFCI breaker coiled white wire connects to Neutral busbar

White neutral to Load connects to neutral busbar in ordinary way
Bare ground wire connects to ground busbar in ordinary way.
120 Volt GFCI breaker

120Volt Breaker

Ordinary non-protected breaker
120 volt circuit breaker

120Volt arc fault breaker

120Volt GFCI

Hot and Neutral connect to arc fault breaker
White wire from breaker connects to Neutral busbar

120 Volt arc fault breaker


GFCI in breaker box
Larger image

How to wire 2-pole 240Volt GFCI circuit breaker

Illustration shows 2-pole 208-240Volt GFCI.
The ordinary 240Volt breaker does not have white wire
The GFCI 240Volt breaker has white wire that connects to neutral busbar.
GFCI 2-pole breaker
Larger image

GFCI 2-pole breaker

Illustration shows 2-pole 208-240Volt GFCI.
Wires leave GFCI and travel to T104 timer, before going to pool pump.
National electric code requires 2-pole breaker for 240Volt circuit  Read more
It is unsafe, and against code to install 2 single GFCIs for 208-240 Volt applications.

How to wire T104 timer
How to set and operate T104
Intermatic timers and manuals

How to wire arc fault breaker

Arc fault breaker



Ordinary circuit breaker

How to replace circuit breaker



CH Type 120Volt Arc fault breaker

GFCI protection
Also mitigates damage from arcing fault

Instructions:
Breaker stabs onto busbar.
Hot connects to breaker in typical fashion.
White Neutral connects to breaker.
Coiled White connects to Neutral busbar.

AFCI-GFCI circuit breaker installation and troubleshoot/ pdf
Eaton AFCI-GFCI/ pdf
How to Install a Ground Fault Circuit Breaker/ pdf
Installation Instructions for G-Frame Ground Fault Circuit Breaker/ pdf
Arc fault breaker troubleshoot/ pdf

Arc fault breaker

BR Type 120Volt Arc fault breaker

GFCI protection
Also mitigates damage from arcing fault

Instructions:
Breaker stabs onto busbar.
Hot connects to breaker in typical fashion.
White Neutral connects to breaker.
Coiled White connects to Neutral busbar.
AFCI-GFCI circuit breaker installation and troubleshoot/ pdf
Additional links:
Electricity leaves power plant What is 3-phase electric: power plant to end user

Troubleshoot Household electricity

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How to wire combo switch-outlet
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Electrical formulas
Electricians forum
How to wire GFCI
How to wire GFCI combo

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What is 3-phase

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