Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Does a GFCI receptacle provide over-current protection? (note that I'm not referring to GFCI circuit breakers as may be found in a service panel, nor to specialty devices such as an inline plug-in GFCI that may offer over-current protection)

I've checked some GFCI datasheets (note, this link opens a PDF) but haven't found any that mention overcurrent protection, or provide trip curves as would be expected in a circuit breaker datasheet.

So, does a GFCI receptacle provide any inherent over-current protection or must it always be used with a circuit breaker for over-current protection?

This question was prompted by this answer where the answer suggests using a GFCI outlet as a circuit breaker. This seems like very big misconception of the protection offered by a GFCI, and is potentially dangerous if it leads someone to think that GFCI outlets are the same as circuit breakers.

share|improve this question
2  
"This question was prompted by this answer where the answer suggests using a GFCI outlet as a circuit breaker. This seems like very big misconception of the protection offered by a GFCI, and is potentially dangerous if it leads someone to think that GFCI outlets are the same as circuit breakers." ........ This is 100% true!! It is a very big misconception were hear all the time. – Speedy Petey Jan 5 at 2:27
up vote 5 down vote accepted

A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) uses a current transformer (CT) (or similar device), to detect slight current imbalances between the ungrounded (hot) and grounded (neutral) conductors that pass through it.

On its own, a GFCI does not offer any purposeful type of overcurrent, nor overload protection.

This blog entry explains a bit about how a GFCI works, if you're interested in a bit more reading.

share|improve this answer

Typical GFCI outlet units do not provide any over current protection. They provide protection when the current in the HOT wire is not balanced with the current in the NEUTRAL wire to the local outlet outlet or to downstream circuits connected to the LOAD terminals of the device.

The way you would get current overload protection and GFCI protection at the same time in the same device would be to install a GFCI equipped circuit breaker in the power distribution panel.

share|improve this answer

No .

share|improve this answer
2  
Simple answer, to a simple question. – Billy C. Jan 5 at 1:23

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.