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Electrical Wiring FAQ (Part 1 of 2)
Section - What is the difference between a GFCI outlet and a GFCI breaker?

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Top Document: Electrical Wiring FAQ (Part 1 of 2)
Previous Document: Where shouldn't I use a GFCI?
Next Document: What's the purpose of the ground prong on an outlet, then?
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

	For most situations, you can use either a GFCI outlet as the
	first device on the circuit, or you can install a breaker with
	a built-in GFCI.  The former is generally preferred, since GFCI
	breakers are quite expensive.  For example, an ordinary GE
	breaker costs ~US$5; the GFCI model costs ~US$35.  There is one
	major exception:  if you need to protect a ``multi-wire branch
	circuit'' (two or more circuits sharing a common neutral wire),
	such as a Canadian-style kitchen circuit, you'll need a
	multi-pole GFCI breaker.  Unfortunately, these are expensive;
	the cost can range into the hundreds of dollars, depending on
	what brand of panel box you have.  But if you must protect such
	a circuit (say, for a pool heater), you have no choice.

	One more caveat -- GFCI outlets are bulky.  You may want to use
	an oversize box when installing them.  On second thought, use
	large (actually deep) boxes everywhere.  You'll thank yourself
	for it.

	Incidentally, if you're installing a GFCI to ensure that one
	specific outlet is protected (such as a bathroom), you don't
	really have to go to all of the trouble to find the first
	outlet in the circuit, you could simply find the first outlet
	in the bathroom, and not GFCI anything upstream of it.  But
	protecting the whole circuit is preferred.

	When you install a GFCI, it's a good idea to use the little
	"ground fault protected" stickers that come with it and mark
	the outlets downstream of the GFCI.  You can figure out which
	outlets are "downstream", simply by tripping the GFCI with the
	test button and see which outlets are dead.

	Note that the labels are mandatory for GFCI-protected-but-ungrounded
	three prong outlets according to the NEC.

User Contributions:

Dev
Report this comment as inappropriate
Dec 21, 2011 @ 12:00 am
In a fire protection circuit, circuts are shown witha no example 6,8,4etc. what it mean?these circuits are connected between smode detector,junction box etc
kevin
Report this comment as inappropriate
Dec 24, 2011 @ 12:12 pm
My daughter dropped a small necklace behind her dresser. The necklace crossed a plug terminal and shorted the receptacle.
I bought a new receptacle and installed the same. I still have no power I suspect there could be a bigger problem,this is aluminum wiring.
I've killed the breaker and call an electrician but am curious as to what happened.P.s. there is a dimmer switch on the same circuit.
dennis
Report this comment as inappropriate
Feb 24, 2012 @ 11:11 am
Regarding new construction wiring and running 12/2 and 14/3 wire in the same box.

I have multiple switches to lights. Ran 12/2 and 14/3 into switch box and inspector wrote correction needed.

What should I have done instead?

thank you
dennis
Robert
Report this comment as inappropriate
Nov 26, 2012 @ 9:21 pm
Does a grounding electrode facilitate the operation of a OCPD, to clear a ground fault ?
@dennis
Report this comment as inappropriate
Mar 18, 2013 @ 10:10 am
Assuming you are installing two switches in a two switch box, you probably should have used 14/2 and 14/3 instead of replacing 14/2 with 12/2. If you are only installing one switch in a one switch box, you should only have one cable in the box.
P k
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jan 26, 2014 @ 10:10 am
I prefer to use nothing smaller than12 awg /the smallest sized wire on a circuit determines the allowable ampacity
Ex: 15 amp-14awg. 12awg-20amp only rule for thumb other factors such as continuous load,heating and others if you do not know the safe NEC rules then please call a qualified journeyman Electrician better be safe

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Top Document: Electrical Wiring FAQ (Part 1 of 2)
Previous Document: Where shouldn't I use a GFCI?
Next Document: What's the purpose of the ground prong on an outlet, then?

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM