How do I wire a GFCI receptacle correctly?


If power is going to the switch first, you'll place the hot conductor on one screw of the switch, with the conductor on the other screw going to the hot (generally copper colored) screw of the GFCI on the line side. The neutrals in the switch box will be wire nutted together, with the neutral conductor leading to the receptacle box going to the silver screw on the line side. Grounding is still done as common. If power is going to the receptacle box first, you'll have to run a switch-leg. In this case, the neutral entering the receptacle box will be placed on the silver screw on the line side, but the hot will be wire nutted to a new piece of Romex. Personally, I nut the black (hot) conductor to the white that heads up to the switch (of course, you tape the white conductor over with black electrical tape on both ends). Both the white and black in the switch box are landed on the screws of the switch, and back in the receptacle box, the black lands on the hot screw (generally copper...

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This 5 minute task has kept me busy for an hour. Old switch/outlet combo melted. Replacing with gfci combo.

Red/White pair is the line. Orange/White pair is the load to the light.

Strangely, this outlet says its load and line are flipped, with the line on top instead of the bottom.

Wiring this way got me a dead outlet. Wiring with the load on top got a green light, but it won't reset and light won't turn on.

What's the correct wiring please?

UPDATE: This is a Leviton X7299-W switch / outlet combo. Here's a link to a pdf of the instructions: !4

When running just the line ( red / white ) pair to the bottom posts, I get a green light, but it won't reset and no power.

Note that this is the bottom terminals, because all the diagrams I've seen show the line at the bottom, load on top, and if I run them to the top, I get a dead...

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Turn off the power to the circuit you are working on from your main fuse or breaker box. Unscrew the cover plate with a flat-head or Phillips screwdriver.


Identify how many cables or wires you have in your electrical box.

You should have no more than 4 loose wires or 2 cables with a total of 6 wires between them. Grounding wires are not included in this total.

Contact a qualified electrician to complete the work if you have identified more than 4 loose wires or more than 2 cables (grounding wires not included.


Strip the wires with wire strippers. Connect the white "line" wire to the silver (white) terminal and connect the black "line" wire to the brass "hot" terminal.


Attach any ground wires to the green grounding screws. Needle-nose pliers may be needed to connect the wires.


Tuck the wires into the box, ensuring the grounding wire does not touch the other 2 wires.


Install the...

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How to Wire GFCI Outlets and Receptacles

Electrical Question:

I hooked up a GFCI to the electrical panel.

I connected incoming ground and GFCI pigtail to the ground side of panel. I pushed the TEST Button and nothing happens. Does not trip breaker. Do I have the two grounds in correct location. I put my circuit tester in the outside receptacle and the two right side lights come on, showing correctly wired but will not TEST trip at breaker.


This electrical question came from: Gene, from Southport, North Carolina

See more about Home Wiring for North Carolina

Additional Comments: this is a very good site, the best I came across

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Gene

Electrical Wiring for a GFCI Receptacle

Wiring GFI 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...

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You may know what a GFCI is, but do you really know how it works? A basic understanding of the device can prevent safety problems.

You may know in what situations the NEC requires you to install a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), but do you know how a it works? A GFCI is specifically designed to protect people against electric shock from an electrical system, and it monitors the imbalance of current between the ungrounded (hot) and grounded (neutral) conductor of a given circuit. Don't let the name confuse you — these devices will operate on a circuit that does not have an equipment-grounding conductor.

With the exception of small amounts of leak-age, the current returning to the power supply in a typical 2-wire circuit will be equal to the current leaving the power supply. If the difference between the current leaving and returning through the current transformer of the GFCI exceeds 5 mA (61 mA), the solid-state circuitry opens the...

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SonnyandSam: Excellent video. Covered all the necessary information including tools and electrical code needed. Really appreciated the detail not only on how to do it but why. Great job!

JCS Reefing: what breaker was this connected to? is it a 110 single pole 20amp breaker??

Joey Mesa: Very helpful video. Thanks!

Ron_ Wizly: Is a GFCI tester necessary since a GFCI outlet has a built-in test button?

sustainlight1: can you connect a switch out of those receptacles? how?

David J: I am replacing numerous outlets and switches in my daughter's house. I like the slide connections with a screw that you point our many times in your videos. Most seem to be Leviton. I am looking for outlets (the older design - two round receptacles versus the newer rectangular models). Also looking for the quiet single pole the double pole switches. Everything is white. Would you please remind me of the model numbers you would recommend? Thanks for all of your interesting...

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Do you have a GFCI that you want to replace?

Maybe you’ve recently painted and you want to change the color of your outlets.

Whatever the case, being able to replace an outlet is something every home owner should know how to do. I have created step by step instructions on how to replace a GFCI outlet. (with pictures)

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. You may have heard someone call it a GFI and basically GFI is just a trade name for GFCI, just leaving out the (circuit) part.

What is a GFCI and how does it work?

Also view GFCI wiring diagram here. Outlet wiring diagrams

Caution: A GFCI does NOT protect against short circuits, overloads, or shocks. You can still get shocked by touching bare wires while standing on a non-conducting surface such as a wood floor or carpet.

Important note: Always comply with the NEC (National Electrical Code) your local and state laws...

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Q: I bought a plug-in type GFCI tester at Home Depot or Lowe’s, I’m not sure. On the back of the package it says that the tester is listed and designed for testing the operation of GFCI receptacles. Sometimes when I plug the tester into a GFCI receptacle, it does not trip. However, when I press the test button on the receptacle, it does trip. Should I be concerned because the tester does not trip the GFCI?

A: Most, if not all, GFCI receptacle manufacturers recommend using the test button on the device to ensure proper operation. If a small load, like a table lamp or floor lamp, is plugged into the GFCI receptacle and turned on, then the test button on the GFCI is pressed, and the lamp goes out, the GFCI receptacle is working, and is properly wired. If the unit trips, but the lamp remains energized, the GFCI receptacle is miswired. To correct this situation, the wires connected to the receptacle’s “line and load” terminals must be reversed.

A plug-in type GFCI tester...

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by Jeff Patterson

I got shocked.

It was over 10 years ago but I still remember the jolting feeling.

If you’ve seen Back to the Future you probably know how Doc Brown got his white hair.

Well I felt how he looked.

Why is this so dangerous? It’s simple: the human heart has electrical impulses and that rhythm, if interrupted, can be deadly – especially for children.

Certain rooms in your house are required to have GFCI outlets so that you won’t be shocked.

Knowing where they need to be and how to install them can save you a ton of dough. And allow you to sleep a lot better at night.

GFCIs are required by electrical code (I’m talking about the states here) in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor spaces, and in garages.

These are places where moisture creates electrical hazards and you need protection.

Why all this hubbub over an outlet?

Here’s the deal, GFCI’s detect even the tiniest leak in electrical current,...

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GFCI receptacles have two sets of contacts, line, and load. The Line side of the receptacle is used to power the device, while the load side is used to power other devices down the line. Any device connected to the load side of a GFCI receptacle, will be protected by the GFCI receptacle.

For example, if you have a setup like this (which I assume you have).

There is no need to have a GFCI receptacle as the second receptacle, since it will already be protected by the first GFCI receptacle. Because of this, if the first device trips all devices on the load side will not be powered (as you have noticed).

You can use pigtails to connect the receptacles like this.

But in a setup like this, you'll be required to have a GFCI receptacle at both outlets. The devices down stream are no longer protected by the first GFCI receptacle, because they are not fed by the load side of the device.

This is what it would look like if the...

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"the first electrician was an inspector and knows his plug in testor doesn't work without a ground wire, therefore he thinks the gfci doesn't work. silly inspector!"

The plug in tester is not even a reliable way to check a GFCI.

The 'TEST' button on the face IS the recognized way.

The small testers do not have adequate precision in the 'leakage' current they simulate.
They are a 'meatball' way of verifying that a regular receptacle is on the LOAD side of a GFCI.

They put a load from hot to ground to unbalance the current.
No ground, no current, but it has nothing to do with the GFCI working correctly.
They put the unbalance around the sense coil between the hot and...

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HOME SitemapInfo and Troubleshooting

There are often special looking electrical receptacles in bathrooms or kitchens that have "Test" and "Reset" buttons -- often black and red -- on them. Video. These are ground-fault circuit interrupters -- GFCIs or GFIs. Their purpose is to protect people from electrocution. They do not prevent shock altogether, only deadly shock. And they do not prevent overloads on the circuit. That is the job of a circuit breaker at the main panel. See my GFCI article. (What is the little light on some GFIs?)

Why Can't I Reset? Is GFCI Bad or Is There a Ground-Fault?
GFI Outlet Diagram -- Hooking Up
Is an Unknown GFCI the Cause of an Outage?
Finding a Tripped GFCI Receptacle
Confusing Terms: GFCI, GFI, Load, etc.

Bad GFCI or a Ground-Fault? -- Troubleshooting

Is a GFI tripping for a ground-fault? If you are pretty sure you need to troubleshoot a ground-fault itself, you may want to go to

Tripped GFI -- Why?


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On Your Porch

Knowing how to wire a receptacle is something every homeowner should know. Most porches will have at least one receptacle and one overhead light (or wall lights). If you have more than that, consider yourself lucky.

If you are building a porch, now would be an excellent time to use our Porch Electrical Systems Guide to plan for all of your porch's electrical requirements.

Most of us; however, just need to update or add additional electrical capabilities.

Knowing how to wire a receptacle can really come in handy. Remember, you cannot (and should not) just extend an existing circuit unless you know positively that you have available wattage. Electrical circuits, by code, can only have up to 80% of their maximum capability. Anything over that and you risk an overload.

I am not a certified electrician but I do have formal education in electrical wiring and have many years of experience. The following information is provided as "general...
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If wired correctly, this is fine.

GFCI outlets typically have line terminals (power input) and load terminals (power to other outlets, which will be protected by the GFCI.)

Your contractor will have wired the outlet in the second bathroom to the load terminals of the GFCI in the main bathroom. There should also be a sticker on the outlet stating that it is GFCI protected, as it can be less obvious when the outlet stops working but no breakers are blown what's going on. However, these stickers don't last well, so they may not have bothered (or may have stuck it on the inside of the outlet plate so it would be found early in troubleshooting)

If you have concerns, you should purchase (not too expensively) an outlet tester that includes a GFCI test function, plug it in to verify correct wiring and then press the test button to verify that the GFCI trips as it...

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You have a multi wire circuit. From your main panel you have two hot wires and a single neutral wire (plus the ground wire) going to the kitchen. At the receptacle where the read and black wire join, your circuit separates out and from there on it would look like a normal circuit at any receptacle.

While there is nothing wrong with this (assuming it is properly wired), it is very confusing to people who don't know what a multi wire circuit is or how it works. I hope, for your sake, that you have not ever attempted to switch the circuit breakers that these wires are attached to or to extend these circuits. Incorrectly modifying a multi wire circuit can lead to a fire hazard. If you have modified the circuit in any way, fess up to it so we can make sure that you didn't create a fire hazard.

Back to your problem. You have an open neutral. Since you are saying that this effects both side of the multi wire circuit, it is most likely before the multi wire circuit separated into...

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Always Disconnect the Power before beginning work!

Failure to follow this rule can result in death or injury.

Breaker and fuse panels remain hot even if the main breaker is turned off or the main fuse is removed. Main panels should only be worked on by qualified persons.

Incorrectly performed electrical work can result in fire, damage to property, and injury or death to people. Furthermore, in some jurisdictions it may be against the law for anyone other than a licensed electrician to perform electrical work, and work which is performed by unqualified people or which has not been inspected and approved may cause your homeowners insurance policy to be void.

Replacing a 2 prong outlet with a 3 prong GFCI outlet greatly improves the safety of an ungrounded electrical system

15-30 minutes

- it will probably take almost as long to read this article as it will to do the job.

Subjects in this article are covered by the National Electric Code - NEC...

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Overloaded GFI Outlet

Question:Chad, from Louisville, Kentucky asks:
I recently installed a new electrical outlet on a kitchen wall that previously had none. I basically ran the new wire down to our basement and tapped into an existing box that is running two additional outlets. I flipped the power on, plugged in the toaster oven and microwave and the clocks on both power up. However, when I run either of the two appliances, they tend to work for about 1-2 minutes and then stop. It doesn't trip the breaker, but the outlet simply quits working. Without doing anything, the outlet will turn itself back on after about 10 minutes or so (I know this as the clocks on the appliances power back up). I tried replacing the outlet with a GFI outlet and the same thing occurs only this time it does trip the GFI. Could it be the fact that I have plugged in two appliances that surge which is causing this to happen? Why would they work for a bit and then stop but then work...

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InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

How to wire up an electrical receptacle:

Here we illustrate basic connections seen in the field for the black, white neutral or grounded conductor), and ground wire when hooking up an electrical receptacle (wall plug or "outlet").

We describe how to wire an electrical receptacle by making the right connections between individual electrical wires and the proper screw or clamp connectors on the electrical receptacle device itself.

We also describe connecting the ground wire between the circuit grounding conductor, receptacle ground screw, and the electrical box (if metal boxes are used).

Watch out: mis-wired electrical receptacles are dangerous. Electrical wiring should be performed by a licensed, trained electrician and should comply with the National Electrical Code and local regulations. This article series...

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