By Dave Rongey 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.
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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]
After shutting off the power, begin by removing the existing receptacle.
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.
I like using the 15 amp rated GFCI receptacle which is rated for 20 amp feed through capacity.
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 .
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.
Electrical Wiring Video #2
Electrical Wiring Tips for Home Electrical Wiring Projects
Tripping Circuit Breaker, Outlet at a Wall Switch, Light Fixture without a Ground Wire, Help with Home Electrical Wiring Projects.
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Wiring Diagrams for 3-Way Switches The Key to Wiring 3-Way Switches - The Power Feed and the Switch Leg leading to the fixture(s) typically, one at each switch location, are attached to the screw terminal found at one end of the switch by itself
Bathroom Electrical Circuit Troubleshooting Replacing GFI Outlet Leads to Sparks: I was replacing a GFCI receptacle,I had accidentally pushed the travelers together with a flat head screwdriver, so the wires sparked, and now my whole bathroom and bedroom, has no power whats so ever
Electrical Project Skill Level:
Beginner to Intermediate.
Electrical Tools Required:
Basic Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools, wire gfi outlets, and the available access to the project area. Electrical Safety:
Identify the gfci outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials:
Electrical parts and materials for GFCI outlet wiring projects should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections:
Installing additional electrical wiring for GFCI Outlets should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
This is a testing tool that is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
This is great to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring, is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets
Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency
Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included
Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect, Very handy and easy to use.
A wire stripping tool used to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets.
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