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GFCI Wiring Method

Summary: Article shows outlet wiring a GFI using the tailed method. The tailed wiring method enables you to install one GFI outlet to protect one location without affecting other devices on the circuit.

GFCI Outlet Electrical Wiring the Tailed Wiring Method

Installing more than one GFCI at multiple locations

GFCI home wiring - The tailed wiring method is very useful and enables the GFCI protection to be location specific. One example where this is very advantageous is in a two story residence where there is a bathroom downstairs and a bathroom upstairs.

If the circuit was protected by only one GFCI on the downstairs level and second floor bathroom created an accidental trip, the person in the second floor bathroom would require the first floor GFCI to be reset. This method of GFI outlet wiring can be a real disadvantage.

Below you will see some photos of recent home wiring projects that I have selected to help you with your project.

In this home wiring installation you will see how I converted a typical receptacle into a GFCI that will then be operated independently of the other devices downstream on the circuit.

Take a look at GFCI home wiring - The Tailed Wiring Method in a typical installation:
[Click on the images to Enlarge]

check local code reqs GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 1 After shutting off the power, begin by removing the existing receptacle.
GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 2 GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 3 GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 4
Inspect the wires and check to be sure the ground is bonded through. Make two "tails" one for each insulated wire. Twist the wires together evenly, then screw the wire connector firmly.
GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 5 I like using the 15 amp rated GFCI receptacle which is rated for 20 amp feed through capacity. GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 6
GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 7 GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 8 GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 10
Fold the spliced wires back into the back of the box making room for the GFCI. Attach the ground wire to the provided ground screw connection. Attach the tails - black to the hot wire terminal, and the white to the white wire terminal .
GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 11 GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 12
GFCI Tailed Wiring Method 13
Install the GFCI receptacle. Mount the cover plate. The circuit is turned on and tested.

More about Wiring GFCI Outlets

More about GFCI Wiring Methods


Lost Power to a GFI Outlet

Question: Chris, from Colorado Springs, Colorado asks:
I have a CGFI outlet on the outside of my house that stopped working when I plugged in a table saw. It already had a waterfall pump. Nothing in the breaker box had any effect (though not well marked). Replaced the outlet with test and reset buttons (previous did not have these) and still have no power. Do I need to call an electrician or is there something I can check as a homeowner.

Answer: Chris, It is very possible that there is another GFI outlet that has tripped off which provides power to the GFI outlet that you are describing. One type of GFI protection is enough where required. As for your personal abilities, no one knows better than you, and the key is to never work on live wires and always have a good voltage tester and a good set of tools. Dave.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Wiring Method for GFCI Outlets

Question from Dan, a Homeowner in Poughkeepsie, New York:
How is a GFCI Outlet in a Bathroom Wired?

  • I’m replacing a GFCI outlet in my bathroom, and I have 2 black wires to one contact, 2 white wires to another, and bare ground wire. Should I hook up same way with replacement?

Dave’s Answer:
Wiring a Bathroom GFCI Outlet

  • For this wiring example, the wires are connected on the LINE end of the GFCI outlet, and the wiring will be the same as the original GFCI, where the black wires connect to the brass colored terminals, and the white wires connect to the silver colored terminals, and the ground wire is attached to the green grounding terminal.


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