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I Live in Round Lake, Il., in a 1940's built home. In my kitchen I have four counter top receptacles surrounding my sink area. Two of the receptacles are close to the sink, and I want to replace them with GFCI receptacles. The wiring is serviced by armored cable containing two insulated wires (blk/wht), and a very small non-copper uninsulated wire. All receptacles are on the same circuit, and appear to loop through the outlets from left to right. How can I install a GFCI receptacle to control this string of receptacles.

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1 Answer 1

Simply replacing the first receptacle in the group with a GFCI receptacle, will provide protection to the entire group (if wired properly).

GFCI Receptacle

Locate the feeders

WARNING:

This procedure should only be carried out by persons with the proper tools and knowledge. And should be carried out with extreme caution.

When you open up the box containing the first receptacle in the group, you're going to notice two cables enter the box. One cable brings power from the breaker/fuse box (feeder), and the other carries power to the remainder of the circuit. You'll have to figure out which cable is which, so you know how to connect the GFCI receptacle.

  1. Start by turning off the power at the breaker/fuse box.
  2. Disconnect the receptacle, and position all the wires so that they will not contact each other or anything else conductive.
  3. Turn the power back on.
  4. Using a multi-, voltage or non-contact meter determine which set of wires is which. The feed from the breaker/fuse box will have power, while the line going to the rest of the circuit will not.
  5. Mark the wires in some way, and turn the power back off.

WARNING:

If you got a voltage reading on more than one set of wires, STOP, do not follow the rest of these instructions. contact a local Electrician.

Connect the GFCI

On the GFCI receptacle you'll notice that one set of terminals is labeled "LINE", and the other is labeled "LOAD".

  1. Connect the wires from the cable you marked as being from the breaker/fuse box, to the terminals labeled "LINE" (Black to brass, white to silver, green/bare to green/ground and the box if it's metal).
  2. Connect the wires from the other cable to the terminals labeled "LOAD".
  3. Install the receptacle into the box.
  4. Turn the power on.
  5. Press the Reset button on the GFCI receptacle.

WARNING:

If the receptacle will not reset, the wiring is connected incorrectly, or contains a fault. Contact an Electrician to complete the job.

GFCI Breaker

Alternatively, you can install a GFCI breaker to protect the entire circuit.

WARNING:

This procedure should only be carried out by persons with the proper tools and knowledge. And should be carried out with extreme caution.

  1. Turn off the breaker.
  2. Remove the black wire from the terminal on the breaker.
  3. Locate the white "neutral" wire associated with the circuit (should originate from the same cable).
  4. Remove the white "neutral" wire from the neutral bus bar.
  5. Remove the breaker (Caution should be used not to touch the hot bus bar while the breaker is removed).
  6. Install the GFCI breaker.
  7. Connect the white wire from the GFCI breaker to the neutral bus bar.
  8. Connect the white "neutral" wire from the circuit to the GFCI breaker.
  9. Connect the black "hot" wire from the circuit to the GFCI breaker.
  10. Turn the breaker on.

WARNING:

If the breaker will not reset, the wiring is connected incorrectly, or contains a fault. Contact an Electrician to complete the job.

Test the GFCI

Once the GFCI device is installed, it should be tested at least once a month to insure it's functioning properly.

  1. Press the Test button.
  2. Press the Reset button.

If the GFCI will not reset, the GFCI is bad, the wiring is incorrect, or there is a fault. Correct any faults, and/or install a new GFCI device.

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Why not turn off the master breakers when working in the box to reduce the risk of touching a hot bus? –  bib Nov 19 '13 at 21:29
    
@bib Because then the lights go out. It's more difficult to work in the dark, than it is to avoid jamming something in the empty breaker slot. –  Tester101 Nov 19 '13 at 21:45
1  
That's where battery headlamps come in handy. –  bib Nov 19 '13 at 21:52
    
Turning off the main lulls you into a false sense of security. The lugs are still hot, and easily accessible. I'd rather have good lighting while working in a panel, then the ability to be careless. –  Tester101 Nov 20 '13 at 3:30
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