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Wiring a GFCI Outlet with a Switch

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
outlet-wiring

wiring a switch
electrical-switches
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1

electrical wire
electrical-wire

For more information about GFCI Wiring
GFCI Wiring
GFCI Wiring


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

Great for any Home Wiring Project.


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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Includes:
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.





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.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

6 Responses to “Wiring a GFCI Outlet with a Switch”
  1. Jerry says:

    I want to put a GFCI outlet in the same box with a light switch. However the light switch is wired the old school way with the hot on one terminal and the neutral on the other terminal. The light is wired on the hot leg. How do I wire the GFCI?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Jerry,
      From what you have described a separate power feed will be required for the GFCI outlet. The white wire that is attached to the light switch is not a neutral wire, it is being used for switching the power for the device that is controlled by the light switch.
      Be Safe,
      Dave

  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?

    • 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,
      Dave

  3. 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
    Bob

    • 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.
      Dave

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