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GFCI Code Requirements
Summary: This article explains the basics of the electrical code requirements for GFI Protection as part of the home electrical wiring system.
© By: Dave Rongey
GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTERS FOR THE HOME
GFCI protection is a safety issue that is clearly stated in the National Electrical Code and required at your home electrical wiring system. GFCI protection must be provided in home electrical wiring for receptacle outlets installed in the following locations:
- Specific Receptacles in Basement Areas
- Areas adjacent to a wet-bar in recreation rooms
- Hot Tubs, Jacuzzi Tubs, Swimming Pool Equipment*
* If an Isolation Transformer is used for underwater fixtures, the GFCI will not detect any ground faults on the secondary side of the transformer.
Ground Fault Circuit protection can be provided by either GFCI circuit-breakers or by installing GFCI receptacles within home electrical wiring.
** A GFCI will operate on a two-wire circuit even though an equipment grounding conductor is not included with the circuit conductor. Warnings:
Don’t Ever- Ground a neutral conductor except at the main service panel of the home electrical wiring system.
Don’t Ever - Connect the neutral of one circuit to the neutral of another circuit in the home electrical wiring system. Ground-fault circuit interrupters may be installed on other circuits and in other locations even when rewiring existing installations where the Code does not specifically call for GFCI protection.
THE FEED-THROUGH METHOD OF WIRING A GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTER
When the feed through method of wiring is used, the GFCI receptacle supplies many other receptacles with power. If a ground fault occurs anywhere on the circuit, all the down stream receptacles lose power.
This may not be a good circuit layout because attempting to locate the source of the ground-fault problem could be very time consuming. Consider using more GFCI receptacles for a more practical design in your home electrical wiring system.
The feed through method of wiring provides GFCI protection to all downstream outlets which are wired from the location of the GFCI Receptacle.
TIP: You will notice that the LINE and LOAD connections are clearly marked on the receptacle.
A Yellow Label is attached to the LOAD terminals or wire leads and indicates a warning that the load terminals identified by this label are for feeding additional receptacles. Incorrect wiring could leave the outlet without ground-fault protection. Make sure to read all instructions prior to wiring the GFCI receptacle.
When using the feed through method of wiring in your home electrical wiring gfci circuit make sure not to reverse the LINE and LOAD connections as this could leave the GFCI receptacle “live” even in the event of the device tripping off.
Testing the GFCI Receptacle and Circuit:
The TEST and RESET Buttons are great indicators of the operation of the device, however a reading with a tester is still the best way to find out if the GFCI has been wired correctly in your home electrical wiring system.
With older GFCI receptacles, especially those found outdoor or in high moisture areas, it is common to find the buttons “stuck” or in-operable. Always replace the GFCI receptacle if this is found and test the device upon completion. Make sure outdoor receptacles are installed in weather proof enclosures to prevent damage from moisture. Use appropriate covers for your home electrical wiring application. If a cord will be used for extended periods of time, install approved covers that provide moisture protection for the receptacle and cord where the cover will close and latch while a cord is plugged in.