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GFCI Circuit Breaker and Wiring


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire a GFCI Circuit Breaker: Does it matter where in the breaker box panel I insert a 20 amp GFCI 220Volt breaker?


GFCI Circuit Protection Requires Correct Circuit Wiring

Electrical Question: Does it matter where in the breaker box panel I insert a 20 amp GFCI 220Volt breaker?

  • I moved some breakers around and put the GFCI breaker above, closer to the main breaker, a single pole breaker that feeds some outlets.
  • Now whenever I plug in a tool with a motor in it and turn it on the GFCI breaker trips and irrigation pump shuts down.
  • Do the GFCI breakers need to be last in line in the panel, furthest away from the main breaker ?
  • Or should I use a regular breaker in the panel and move the GFCI breaker to the end of the feeder line next to the pump. Or should I be doing or not doing something else.

Thanks for your help,
Rick

Background: Rick, a Contractor from Rocheport, Missouri.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Rick.

hot-tub-gfci-breaker

How to Wire a GFCI Circuit

  • The location of the GFCI circuit breaker does not affect the operation.
  • I’m curious – what are you providing power for that requires a GFCI Circuit breaker, and – if this device actually requires GFCI protection, have you installed all the necessary wiring?
  • For example, most spas and hot tubs require a 4-wire GFCI circuit where a separate neutral wire is required.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • If you are providing 240 volt power to an agricultural pump that does not require GFCI protection or a separate neutral then you just need to install a regular 2-pole 240 volt circuit breaker.
  • Make sure to install the wiring as required for the specific motor size and a properly sized and bonded ground wire.

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5 Responses to “GFCI Circuit Breaker and Wiring”
  1. Mike says:

    I am installing a 2 pole GFCI circuit breaker for heat trace that does not require a neutral conductor. Can I just disconnect the neutral conductor that connects to the neutral bus from the breaker and still have proper operation?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Mike,
      The neutral wire from the GFCI circuit breaker must be terminated to either the neutral bar or the ground bar, which is the same at the main panel. The neutral wire of the GFCI breaker helps the GFCI sense if there is a problem, and removing the wire will prevent the GFCI from working properly and the GFCI TEST Button will likely not work either. Most GFCI breakers come with instructions for alternate wiring, which should instruct you to terminate the neutral wire where the ground wire of the circuit will be terminated.
      Dave

  2. ernie says:

    Hi, I’m trying to replace a three prong outlet with a GFI as required when selling a home. This outlet is in the laundry room. It has a white and black and a green ground but also has a red wire with the connection between the blacks cut. The red is connected on the same side as the black. How do I connect a new GFI outlet.
    Thank you

  3. Fernando says:

    Hi, I have an Intermatic Electrical Panel with the C/B’s in my house, however, for the AC compressor I have a two pole GE-THQL2150 C/B my question is if can replaced the existing C/B with a New type like the GE-THQL2150GF-1 that is commonly used in Hot Bath tubs and has a surge protection installed within.


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