Comments and Discussions about GFCI Wiring
Overloaded GFI Outlet
Chad, from Louisville, Kentucky asks:
I recently installed a new electrical outlet on a kitchen wall that previously had none. I basically ran the new wire down to our basement and tapped into an existing box that is running two additional outlets. I flipped the power on, plugged in the toaster oven and microwave and the clocks on both power up. However, when I run either of the two appliances, they tend to work for about 1-2 minutes and then stop. It doesn't trip the breaker, but the outlet simply quits working. Without doing anything, the outlet will turn itself back on after about 10 minutes or so (I know this as the clocks on the appliances power back up). I tried replacing the outlet with a GFI outlet and the same thing occurs only this time it does trip the GFI. Could it be the fact that I have plugged in two appliances that surge which is causing this to happen? Why would they work for a bit and then stop but then work again? I am very confused.
My first thought is to identify the circuit that you have tapped into and find out where that circuit originates from and if there could be any problems occurring with that circuit. As for the GFCI outlet, I have experienced where GFI outlets can act like a circuit breaker if the load that is passing though is too great. GFCI outlets do not do well when they are overloaded. You have not mentioned, but it may be that the GFI outlet is rated for 15 amps and the circuit is actually a 20 amp circuit. If this is the case then installing a 20 amp rated GFI outlet may solve the problem.
How Many Outlets Can Connect to the first GFCI Outlet
Using the feed through method, is there a limit on either the number of downstream receptacles or the distance beyond the GFCI outlet?
You can add any reasonable number of outlets, the concern is to stay within the amperage load of the circuit, distance is not a problem as long as your under 200 feet, depending on the connected types of load placed on the circuit.
Double Quad Outlets Protected by GFCI
This feed through is really good, but how would I wire it if it were a quad with a GFCI in the first position to protect all 3 standard down stream outlets? I would like to put in two quads.
Would it be Line in from feed to GFCI, load out to second outlet (standard - non GFCI)in same box; then wire out from this standard non-GFCI to the second quad (2x standard non-GFCI)?
Do I just use short wires to connect the outlets in each quad together?
Yes Dan, It's basically the same wiring as shown except that you are wiring the LOAD side out to all your outlets and they may be connected by making jumper wires or tails from each set to one connection for the LOAD Set of wires.
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The Difference between a 15 Amp and 20 Amp GFCI
Rob asks: How can I tell if the GFI outlet is a 15 or 20 amp outlet? Does it say on the outlet?
Yes - the GFCI Outlet should have a label or impression which states the voltage and amperage. You will also notice that on a 20 amp GFCI Outlet the left or neutral plug opening will have both the vertical and horizontal opening for a 20 amp plug. You may notice that with some brands of 15 amp GFCI Receptacles have a 20 amp rated feed through, therefore a 15 amp GFCI receptacle may be installed on a 20 amp circuit.
#1 - Rob - 09/29/2013 - 19:23
GFI Outlets Feeding Other Outlets
Charlie Asks: I have seen the square outlets that have the same shape as a GFI. When installing downstream outlets from a GFI should these be used? This is new construction in Indiana.
Dave's Reply: The square design that you are referring to for the other outlets is just a different decorative design and really does not have any significance to GFCI protection that is provided by the GFI outlet. The design of the GFI outlet was adopted most likely because of the extra space that was needed for the ground fault circuit components.
#2 - Charlie Wilson - 10/02/2013 - 13:45
Hot Tub on a GFCI Outlet Circuit
Question: I hooked a GFCI receptacle to an existing circuit & it trips every once in a while. The GFCI is rated for 20 amps & it is protecting my new 12 amp hot tub. I replaced the GFCI, but still getting occasional tripping of the GFCI! Could the new hot tub be a lemon?
Answer: Keep in mind that the existing circuit rating should be identified. Check to see if the hot tub requires it's own dedicated circuit. Sharing a circuit with a hot tub could cause nuisance tripping of a GFCI outlet if the circuit is loaded up to capacity. The hot tub could be tested for possible inconsistencies, and it may help to search for feedback about the reliability of the unit as well.
#3 - Steve Arnett - 10/05/2013 - 13:28
Thanks for Your Comments!