Wiring A GFCI Outlet

gfci outlet

Wiring a GFCI outlet is alot like wiring a normal outlet. The only difference is how the power continues to the next outlet. It can either be protected by the GFCI outlet or it can be left unprotected. This article will show you how to wire a GFCI outlet to protect only itself or to protect itself and other outlets.

brief how to

    1. Turn off the power
    2. Install Wires To The LINE Side Of The Outlet
    3. Protecting Other Outlets With The GFCI Using The LOAD Side
    4. Wiring Outlets Powered After The GFCI That Are Not Protected

tools and materials

  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • New outlet 15 or 20 amp, verify by looking at the breaker supplying power to the outlet
  • Wire nuts if continuing power to another outlet

step 1 Turn Off The Power

Make sure the power is off to the outlet by plugging something into it and turning it on before you turn the power off at the breaker panel. You will know that power is off to the outlet when the thing that is plugged in turns off.

step 2 Install Wires To The LINE Side Of The Outlet

gfci back

There are two sets of connection terminals on a GFCI outlet: The LINE and LOAD. The LINE is the power and neutral wires coming into the outlet. The LOAD is the wire going out to the next outlet.

Wires are color coded and must be attached to their respective screws exactly as follows:

Black Wires: Black wires go to the screw labeled HOT on the LOAD side

White Wires: White wires go the the screw labeled WHITE on the LOAD side

Green Wires: Green or bare copper wires get attached to the ground with a wire nut

Strip a little less than an inch of the insulation off the end of each wire. Use the needle nose pliers to bend the wire in a loop that is tight enough so it can't slip from under the screw head. Hook the wire loop over the screw on the side of the outlet making sure the wire wraps clockwise around the screw. Tighten the screw.

step 3 Protecting Other Outlets With The GFCI Using The LOAD Side

Other outlets may be GFCI protected by using power from the first GFCI. To protect other outlets with the GFCI you will need to run wires from the LOAD terminals on the GFCI to the other outlets.

Attach the wires going out of the box to the LOAD terminals on the GFCI outlet in the following way:

Black Wires: Black wires go to the screw labeled HOT on the LOAD side

White Wires: White wires go the the screw labeled WHITE on the LOAD side

Green Wires: Green or bare copper wires get attached to the ground with a wire nut

Learn more about wiring regular outlest by reading the article How To Wire An Electrical Outlet.

step 4 Wiring Outlets Powered After The GFCI That Are Not Protected

To have outlets using the same power as the GFCI but that are not protected by the GFCI they will need to be wired before the GFCI at another place in the wall or they will need to be wired off a pig tail in the GFCI electrical box. To attach a pig tail in the electric box

Use a wire nut to attach together the following:

  • The power coming into the box
  • 5 inch pig tails going to the terminals as described in step 4
  • The wires going out of the box to the next outlets, white to white, black to black, ground to ground

related articles

  • Electrical Codes relating to where GFCI outlets must be located can be found in the article Electrical Codes.

 

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