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#227026 - 11/28/05 02:09 PM Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
mikemc9 Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 36
Loc: Mountain Top, PA
My builder put a GFCI in our master bath. It's wired to handle an outlet in another bathroom. Is this normal? Can I switch the one in the secound bathroom?

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#227027 - 11/28/05 02:22 PM Re: Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
reorange Offline
Super Handyman

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 2016
Loc: CENTRAL NEW YORK
Yes it is normal.
There are several different correct ways to wire multiple bathroom gfci's.
If you want to change the second one to a gfci receptacle, you can do that.
I would do it this way: In the existing gfci receptacle in the first bathroom, disconnect the wires that are attached to the load terminals and reattach them to the line terminals. And change the receptacle in the second bathroom to a gfci.




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#227028 - 11/28/05 02:25 PM Re: Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
ano Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/05/04
Posts: 356
Common yes, but in my opinion, crazy. I think it goes back to the days when GFCI outlets were expensive and copper wire was cheap. I'd get a separate GFCI outlet for each location, even if it cost $10 or $20 more. (i.e. one in each bathroom, one or two in the kitchen, one or more for outside.)

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#227029 - 11/29/05 08:37 AM Re: Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
mtofell Offline
Handyman

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 860
I have to disagree with the previous two posts... this is totally normal and has been done this way for 30+ years. There is no reason to change the outlet or put another one on the same circuit. There would be redundant GFI protection which is not needed and is usally a sign of less than professional work. The design of your electrical system is motivated by years and years of people studying statistics and body counts to find out what is safe and what is not. It's best left to people who understand it.
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#227030 - 11/29/05 09:19 AM Re: Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
ano Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/05/04
Posts: 356
I think anyone in the process of building a house will soon learn that many things are done a certain way for one reason and only one reason, its the cheapest for the builder. This extends to the cheap valve/plastic hose combo they use to connect the toilet, the cheap plastic holders that hold up closet bar, and, of course, using one GFCI to protect every required area in your house. In a previous home, instead of copper pipe, the builder used poly pipe, because its cheaper, probably saved them $500. Cost me $8000 to ripe it out and install copper after it started to fail. None of these changes showed much "professionalism" in my book.

Now builders certainly are tring to make a profit like everybody else, but if you are going to the trouble to build a house, you can make what you want, not what the builder wants. In fact, I bet if you asked the builder how he would do it for a house HE was going to live in, you'd get a much different story.

Hooking up many areas protected by one GFCI is certainly allowed under the NEC, and maybe when GFCI's cost $100 each, it made sense. Today it doesn't, and all you have to do is read this board to see questions like "My garage outlets stopped working" with the solution being, "go to your bathroom on the other side of the house and reset your GFCI."

Separate GFCI's not only give you less walking, but they help you isolate the fault. If the master bathroom one trips, the problem is in, yes, you guessed it, the master bathroom. You will know it didn't trip because last night it rained on your outdoor Christmas lights.

Both methods are just as safe, and both are fully approved by the NEC. You will live in the house, so you need to decide what works for you.

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#227031 - 11/29/05 09:36 AM Re: Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
mtofell Offline
Handyman

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 860
Most often when there are multiple GFI outlets on the same circuit, hitting the test button on a given one or introducing a fault with a hand tester will actually cause the one upstream to 'trip' - but not always, it could be either... or maybe it won't trip at all because the homeonwer wired the new one wrong. Talk about being inconvenienced... being dead is a huge inconvenience.

I don't think the NEC cares about cost. If they did, there wouldn't be things like AFI's required. I am not an electrician and would be interested to see what some of the pro's around here have to say on this. From what I have learned, there is nothing to be gained by wiring multiple GFI's on the same circuit. The way the code requires them to be wired is actually quite logical once you understand it. Anything downstream from a properly wired GFI has the same protection as at the outlet. This is why every house built in the country is done this way, not to save a couple bucks.
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Mtofell

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#227032 - 11/29/05 10:19 AM Re: Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
ano Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/05/04
Posts: 356
> Most often when there are multiple GFI outlets on the same circuit, hitting the test button on a given one or introducing a fault with a hand tester will actually cause the one upstream to 'trip' - but not always, it could be either...

You don't chain GFCI like that. If you don't wire the load of one to the source of the next one. You wire each directly to the source, so that isn't a problem.

> The way the code requires them to be wired is actually quite logical once you understand it. Anything downstream from a properly wired GFI has the same protection as at the outlet.

Actually the code allows it either way. You can even have a GFCI in every outlet if you like, where is what they are doing in some high-end homes now.

> I don't think the NEC cares about cost.

Don't be so sure about that. Builders are very powerful, and much negotiation goes on here. There is more politics then you might think.



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#227033 - 11/29/05 03:51 PM Re: Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
mtofell Offline
Handyman

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 860
I guess I am missing the point of all this... What is gained by installing all these GFI's anyway? Is it just the convenience of not having to walk to the garage to reset it when it trips? I go through about 350 houses a year, many of them very nice and very new and I have never seen this. Maybe it's a regional thing... I don't see the point.
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#227034 - 11/29/05 04:05 PM Re: Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
reorange Offline
Super Handyman

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 2016
Loc: CENTRAL NEW YORK
Convenience and personal preference.
I know that if I were working outside in the backyard when it was a little wet and muddy and my outside receptacle was controlled by the gfci in the bathroom and it tripped, I would not be very happy that I had to go in the house to get my power back on.
Personally I install a separate 20 amp circuit and gfci for each bathroom, for the garage, for the basement, for the outside receptacles, and at least 3 or 4 in the kitchen.



_________________________
~Pete B. - 1.9.60 **There's no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers**~

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#227035 - 11/30/05 07:52 AM Re: Multiple GFCI on the same circuit
3phase Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 6849
Loc: Licensed Electrical Contractor...
Mike, yes a GFI can protect other recpt in other places. I generally place seperate GFI's in each bath, garage, and other required places for the aforementioned reason of convience. It would be a royal pain to have to go to the other Bath to reset a GFI. You might have had a builder who was old school, but there is nothing wrong with it. But to put a GFI in the other bath is just redundant as long as it is on the original line that has a GFI.
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