I'm wiring an outbuilding and would like to put GFcI first for downstream protection. Only catch is that the first outlet (the one I want to be a GFCI) needs to be controlled by a switch because its in the ceiling for a bank of LED lights to plug into. Here's the run I'm trying to do:

SOURCE........ceiling GFCI (a bank of LED lights plugs into this).......wall switch(that controls that GFCI).....regular wall outlet.....other downline outlets, etc.

Is it possible to wire this run such that the regular outlet (downstream) isn't controlled by the switch but remains GFCI protected (even with the switch off, preferably)? I'd love to see a diagram for this if possible.


  • Don't put a GFCI in the ceiling if that's what you've got in mind, it will trip when you least want it to. Perhaps a diagram of what your doing would help you get better suggestions. Text based descriptions can only be read correctly by the person that wrote it.
    – Tyson
    Dec 10, 2016 at 1:49
  • 3
    Not the way you claim you want it, which is silly anyway, putting the GFCI out of reach. Dead easy if you put the GFCI before that point in an accessible location - you can use a blank-face, a regular GFCI outlet or a GFCI breaker in the panel. This a poor design choice and the solution is a better design.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 10, 2016 at 1:57
  • Thanks for the input. The ceiling is easily within reach with a step stool. But I think I'll run the source to the next outlet position, putting the gfci there, and run extra wire back to the wall switch and ceiling outlet. thanks again. Dec 10, 2016 at 3:20
  • 3
    ...easily within reach with a step stool. NEC does not assume that you have a step stool handy at all times, even if you do. You might move out and take the step stool with you. You might fall off the step stool while resetting the GFCI in the dark. The other way will be better.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 10, 2016 at 3:24
  • Can you post photos of the insides of the boxes? Dec 10, 2016 at 4:51

1 Answer 1


GFCI breakers are easy to manage and will protect the entire circuit. It's the safest way to provide protection to multiple uses on a circuit. One small hitch is you'll need to identify the intended circuit's neutral wire from among those attached to the neutral bus. That neutral wire must be attached to the GFCI breaker, a short white wire included with the new breaker attaches to the neutral bus. And the load (usually black) wire will attach to the breaker also. Then the breaker snaps into the panel in the appropriate slot.

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