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I moved into a new house and never heard of this before, so I thought it was strange.

On 2 circuits I've had a GFCI trip, and when they do, they trip the entire circuit. I thought they were just for the specific GFCI outlet, not the entire circuit.

Do I need to rewire these, as they are nuisance tripping.

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GFCI's tripping should not be treated as a nuisance: they are a safety device. If it's tripping, it means one of two things: there is current flowing out the ground (precisely the condition indicating a fault in something attached; this current could potentially flow out of the person using the device thus electrocuting them), or the GFCI is faulty. If the GFCI is faulty, it should be replaced. If a device being protected by the GFCI is faulty, then that device should be replaced. –  gregmac Jan 14 '13 at 21:01
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes this is correct; a GFCI will protect downstream loads. The purpose of this is that you only need a single GFCI outlet per circuit. Alternatively you could use a GFCI breaker, but these tend to be more expensive.

If this is not behavior you want and you can confirm that it is not needed for safety and code-compliance reasons (ie: it doesn't feed any downstream bathroom, kitchen or wet/damp location outlets), you can rewire the outlet with a pigtail instead of using the Load side of the outlet - the outlet will work as a standalone outlet and trips will not affect downstream loads.

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Note, just because someone doesn't want that behavior doesn't mean they don't need it. If you rewire, make sure all receptacles that need GFCI coverage have it. –  BMitch Jan 14 '13 at 20:52
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Thanks @BMitch, I've updated the answer to reflect this. –  Steven Jan 14 '13 at 21:11
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