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Electrical Wire and Cable

Wiring a GFCI Outlet with a Switch

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire a GFCI Outlet with a Switch – There are a few different methods that are used to wire GFI Outlets but all start with locating the Line side of the GFCI Receptacle where the power source is attached as described.

Identifying the Wiring for a New GFCI Outlet

Electrical Question: I am replacing an ungrounded 2nd generation duplex outlet with a GFCI outlet.

This electrical wiring question came from: Rick, a Homeowner from New Jersey

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

How to Wire a GFCI Outlet with a Switch

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the source power circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.

There are a few different methods that are used to wire GFI Outlets but all start with locating the Line side of the GFCI Receptacle where the power source is attached as described.

The Following will assist you with wiring GFCI Outlets:

electrical outlet wiring

wiring a switch
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1

electrical wire

For more information about GFCI Wiring
GFCI Wiring
GFCI Wiring

Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
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4 Responses to “Wiring a GFCI Outlet with a Switch”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Rewiring a Switch Controlled GFCI Outlet
    Hi Mo, Great Question.
    The electrical wiring connections for the light, fan, and the GFCI outlet will need to be identified in order to see if the GFCI outlet can be wired to be on all the time. If the switch box is the location where all of these wires are found individually then the separation may be possible. However, if the connections to the separate devices has been made at other locations, such as having the GFCI outlet connected to the light fixture then the separation will not be possible without installing additional wiring.
    To be sure, a qualified electrician can assist you to identify the electrical wiring configurations by examining the existing wiring connections and taking a few voltage tests, then making the necessary changes that will give you the results you desire.
    I hope this helps you,

  2. Mo says:

    How Can a GFCI Outlet Be Wired to Be On All the Time?
    I have GFCI outlet that is on only when a light switch is on, and the light switch also has a fan switch with it. How can this be changed so the GFCI outlet not controlled by the light switch?

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Bob,
    My personal preference is that a garage door opener outlet or ceiling lighting should not be protected by a GFCI in the garage. My reason is for safety, to make sure that these vital components remain ON and available even if the GFCI protection trips off for the accessible garage outlets. In order to accomplish this and be compliant with the NEC code a Single outlet should be installed for the garage door opened, not a Duplex.
    Wiring for this setup would be to make the connections before the GFCI outlet, or with the LINE side of the GFCI, not the LOAD.

  4. bob d says:

    I am installing 20a circuit to my garage. I have 4 boxes, first one will be a double with a GFI and a separate switch to control, an outlet on the ceiling to the garage door opener. 2 more boxes/receptable down stream from the gfi double box.
    How do I wire the switch from the GFI to control only the ceiling outlet? I want the 3 wall receptable (GFI and the 2 downstream) to remain on when the switch is turned off.
    Do I go from switch to load to protect the ceiling receptacle to switch only that receptacle on /off or to line? If I went to line would it be protected?
    Thank you