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Are non-GFCI outlets that are downstream of a GFCI outlet ground fault protected if they are fed from the GFCI outlet's load side?

If those non-GFCI downstream outlets were not fed from the GFCI outlet's load side but rather just had their hot, neutral and ground wires spliced to those feeding the GFCI outlet, would the effect be the same as if there was no GFCI outlet on the circuit at all?

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Yes, that is the entire purpose of the load terminals of the GFCI. You can imagine that the protection element of the GFCI extends both to its receptacles, and then just imagine the load pair as another "receptacle".

As to the second part, yes, if you just connect the terminals together "before" the GFCI protection is in place, the GFCI will have no effect - remember, it can only sense problems on its own receptacles and its load terminals.

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Code-wise is it ok to have non-gfci outlets and gfci outlets on the same circuit? –  Howiecamp Mar 9 '13 at 4:06
    
Yes it is perfectly fine, only certain areas need gfci, and if the usage numbers for that circuit allow it, it could go other places in the house e.g., bathroom gfci to hall outlet, hall outlet doesn't need to be gfci protected. –  Aaron Mar 9 '13 at 8:12
    
If you mix and use downstream load outlets, its advisable to use a "GFCI protected" and a "No equipment ground" label, as appropriate (at the downstream outlets) –  HerrBag Dec 12 '13 at 20:03
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Yes to the first question. No to the second. The GFCI protects everything downstream of its load side only.

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I think you mean yes to both, though the second question was worded in a way that makes it hard to answer in the affirmative... the important thing is to make sure you don't put the line into the GFCI's load side—power goes into the GFCI on the line connections only, not the load :) –  geerlingguy Mar 9 '13 at 3:49
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Are non-GFCI outlets that are downstream of a GFCI outlet ground fault protected if they are fed from the GFCI outlet's load side?

Yes.

If those non-GFCI downstream outlets were not fed from the GFCI outlet's load side but rather just had their hot, neutral and ground wires spliced to those feeding the GFCI outlet, would the effect be the same as if there was no GFCI outlet on the circuit at all?

Yes. The GFCI outlet will only protect its own outlets and any outlets that are connected via it's 'Load' connections. Anything spliced before the GFCI will behave as if there is no GFCI.

The most important thing is to make sure you connect the GFCI to power from the panel via the 'Line' connections. If you connect to the Load connections, the GFCI functions just like a cheap $1 non-protected outlet, and provides no extra protection.

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<< Anything spliced before the GFCI will behave as if there is no GFCI. >> Is that a kosher config to have? That is, a GFCI outlet and non-GFCI outlets on the same circuit? –  Howiecamp Mar 9 '13 at 4:05
    
Yes, it's fine code-wise (as far as I can tell), but I would generally run a separate circuit for the GFCI outlets vs, the non-protected stuff, just to be neat about it. That way you know that one circuit breaker, for instance, controls the kitchen outlets, or garage, bathroom, etc. –  geerlingguy Mar 9 '13 at 4:36
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