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Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Wire a GFCI Switch and Light

How do I add a switch to a light that is on a GFCI circuit? Ground Fault Protection for a Light Fixture.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

How To Hook Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
for Backup Power

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Will Display at the End of This Video
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Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
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Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Wiring a GFCI Powered Light and Switch
Electrical Question: How do I add a switch to a light that is on a GFCI circuit?

How do I add a light switch to this? I tried the following:

This did not work. What did I do wrong?

This electrical wiring question came from Roger in Upland, California.

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

Connecting a Light to a GFCI Outlet

Application: How to Connect GFCI Outlet Wiring to a Switch and Light Fixture.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate. This electrical project is best performed by a Licensed Electrician or Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of GFI outlets that will be added.
Precaution: Identify the bathroom GFCI outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional GFCI Outlet Wiring should be done according to local and national electrical GFCI Codes with a permit and be inspected.

Ground Fault Protection for a Light Fixture

Using a GFCI outlet is one way to provide ground fault protection for a light fixture when the wire connections are made properly.

More about Wiring a GFCI Outlet

How to Wire GFCI Outlets
GFCI and GFI Wiring Diagrams

The features and benefits of GFCI outlets and receptacles will give you a clear understanding of the importance why these safety devices are required by code to help protect you and your family against accidental electrical shock hazards.
GFCI Wiring
GFCI Wiring
This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI and GFCI Receptacles and how they are wired.

Electrical Outlet Wiring

Wiring Electrical Outlets for the Home

Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.

How to Wire a Switch

Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1

Wiring Diagrams
Fully Explained Light Switch Wiring Diagrams. Detailed Electrical Wiring Diagrams and Pictures assist your Home Electrical Projects.

Electrical Wire for Electrical Repairs and Home Remodel Projects

Guide to Home Electrical Wire

Electrical Wire for the Home

Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

Electrical Grounding
Electrical Grounding Methods and Requirements

Electrical Grounding Methods and Requirements

Listing of electrical codes for grounding with examples of electrical grounding codes for home electrical wiring.

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It 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.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester 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.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use 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..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

More articles about Electrical Wiring and Home Electrical Wiring:
« Previous Next »
How to Convert a Switched Outlet to Non-Switched Electrical Wiring for a Wall Oven

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

8 Responses to “How to Wire a GFCI Switch and Light”
  1. Patti says:

    I’m installing a new box for a ceiling fan. The fan (and integral light) are operated by a remote control, so it doesn’t need a switch, just a power source. Can I simply run black and white out of the Load side of an existing GFCI outlet up to the light box?

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Patti,
    If the ceiling fan is being installed in a location that requires GFCI protection, then yes, connecting to the LOAD side of the GFCI outlet is OK. If GFCI protection is not required then you can connect to the LINE side. Be sure the wiring to the ceiling fan includes the ground wire (I’m sure you already know this), and make sure the box is rated for Ceiling Fans.
    Enjoy Your Ceiling Fan!

  3. tony says:

    I’m replacing a GFI outlet with a blank GFCI outlet and switch. I understand the Line and Load side. The existing box has the feed (black) and a (black) to overhead, works like adding the next outlet, and I don’t know how to. There is only one silver white terminal on the switch, do you need to bundle the white wires?

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Tony,
    The Line and Load wiring configuration must be provided for both the black and white wires individually, however if the GFCI protection will be provided to additional devices after the GFCI outlet then the connections for those devices may be spliced together with the Load side wiring. GFCI protection for the switched device is provided using the same method of wiring connection on the Load side.
    I hope this helps,

  5. Wayne says:

    I was replacing a GFCI on an outside pole that has a light on top. The GFCI feeds 3 more GFCI’s and a switch for overhead lights on a dock. When I pulled the old GFI the electrician had pigtailed the line wires together with the load wires and connected them to the line terminals only, nothing to the load terminals. Why would he wire it this way?

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Wayne,
    Multiple GFCI outlets may be wired on the same circuit in such a way as you have described to protect each individual GFCI outlet, therefore in the event of a ground fault occurrence at one outlet the other GFCI outlet locations will not be affected, as well as other devices that are wired on the same circuit. This method of wiring GFCI outlets is described in detail complete with photos in the GFCI Outlet area of this website.
    I hope this helps,

  7. tom essey says:

    I am trying to wire from a GFCI to 2 switches in the same box in the bathroom. One switch for lights and one for exhaust fan. How do I go about this. I brought the hot in to one switch and jumped it to the other two. Both switches work and even though the GFCI gets power (using a tester), nothing works when I plug anything in. Thanks

  8. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Tom,
    When wiring from a GFCI outlet out to other devices be sure the neutral and power both are being wired through the GFCI. If only the power is wired through and not the neutral then this may prevent the GFCI protection from working correctly. If the devices do not require GFCI protection then the splice should be made on the Line side, and not the Load side of the GFCI outlet.
    Thanks for sharing your GFCI project with us,