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How To Wire a GFCI and Outlet to a Light Switch


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How do I wire a GFCI, outlet and Light Switch? Fully explained wiring instructions complete with a picture series of an installation and wiring diagrams.

Electrical Question from Douglas about GFCI Wiring to a Light Switch
Background: Douglas, a Homeowner from Hariman, Tennessee

Question: How do I wire a gfci, outlet, light switch, in that order.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Douglas. There are fully explained wiring instructions complete with a picture series of several GFCI installations and GFCI wiring diagrams which can be found here in the GFCI and Light Switch area here in this website. Just click the Wiring Diagrams and GFCI Outlet Wiring  link below.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

Wiring Diagrams

For more information about GFCI Wiring
GFCI Outlet Wiring

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8 Responses to “How To Wire a GFCI and Outlet to a Light Switch”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Rick, from what you have described the wiring to the 2nd 3way switch could be converted to provide power to a GFCI outlet if the power feed is in fact at the first switch box. However it would be best to provide the power for an exterior GFCI outlet from a separate circuit instead of tying into the bathroom circuit. Typically the outside GFCI outlets of a home are on their own separate circuit.
    I hope this helps,
    Dave

  2. Rick says:

    I have two 3 way switches in my bathroom. I would like to get rid of the far side switch (assuming the power is fed to the switch at door) and at the far side switch box install a GFCI outlet to the exterior. I know I need to look for the power source, but if the power is located at the near side can I use the existing wires to rewire the 1st switch to be a single pole switch and change the wires to the 2nd switch for a GFCI outlet on far side?

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Ralph,
    Yes, there may be a voltage leak to ground which is causing the GFCI to trip off. I would advise having the pool light and circuit wiring checked out by a qualified electrician who can locate the problem and make the appropriate corrections.
    Be safe,
    Dave

  4. Ralph says:

    The switch for my swimming pool light is wired in next to and wired to a GFI outlet. I turn on the pool light and it stays on about 2 minutes and then kicks the breaker button on the GFI outlet. Any ideas why? I’m thinking there may be a grounding issue. Thank you for being here!

  5. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Mark,
    If the display lighting will all operate from a single circuit then the GFCI protection should be provided from a GFCI circuit breaker or a GFCI outlet which supplies the power source to the switch and timing device. If one form of GFCI protection is installed and it is discovered that there are problems with the GFCI frequently tripping off then you may consider installing more than one GFCI outlet using the pig tailed method which will help isolate the outlet boxes. This will help ensure that the timing device is not interrupted which would cause the full display to stop working.
    Send us pictures when your display is in full operation so we can see your handy work.
    I hope this helps,
    Dave

  6. Mark says:

    I am planning to add an additional breaker for a new set of Christmas lights which will connect to new outlet wiring. Since there will be 5 outlet boxes and a switch to control the timing, I need to be sure how to set the GFCI protection. Should I use the pigtail method and have multiple GFCI outlets or some other method. The switch is a timer and on/off device. Thank you for your suggestions.

  7. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Gary,
    No – you should not switch a neutral, only the hot. Depending on the load – or what is connected downstream your method should work OK, however if the upstream GFCI continues to trip then I would protect the upstream GFCI using the pigtail method not the feed through, then downstream wire to the switch first then to an additional GFCI at that location.
    Dave

  8. Gary says:

    I want to wire a GFCI and have another plug downstream with the feed through method protecting it as well but having that downstream plug on a switch. I wired as I thought, both lines in to first GFCI, load out to second plug and broke the black line going to second plug at switch. GFCI will not reset. Should I have broken the neutral line?