New garage; the garage door lights go on every time you cross the beam, the outlets that power up the garage door lights are GFCI protected. Can I use the test button as a disconnect during the daytime hours on a daily basis?

  • Are they labeled "TEST/RESET" or "ON/OFF"? Is this a breaker, deadfront, or receptacle type GFCI? – ThreePhaseEel Oct 4 '17 at 22:21
  • As a disconnect or a way to turn power off to the opener? Just to turn the power off it would work If a true disconnect is needed the GFCI would need to be listed for that what is the brand model? – Ed Beal Oct 5 '17 at 3:49
  • This is a TEST/RESET receptacle type GFCI, I believe Leviton may sell a type of GFCI receptacle that has a switch incorporated in the upper part of it. It has to be 20 amp. I believe everything in a garage is suppose to be GFCI protected. Does a GFCI receptacle protect a light if it does not have a ground wire? – Mike Oct 5 '17 at 10:59

A GFCI needs to be labeled as a disconnecting means to be used as one

A normal receptacle or deadfront GFCI is not labeled or listed for disconnecting use -- it won't kill you for abusing it that way, but it could lead to some premature wear on the GFCI's contacts, shortening its lifespan.

There are deadfront GFCIs that are listed and labeled for this task, but they are uncommon, and will have "ON" and "OFF" labeled on/near the buttons in addition to "RESET" and "TEST", as depicted below:

Leviton GFRBF-W

GFCI breakers are a different story though

However, a breaker-type GFCI is also a perfectly cromulent circuit breaker, and thus is considered a disconnecting means under the NEC even if it is not listed/labeled for SWD (Switching Duty) service. (I know of no circumstance under the NEC where an appropriately rated circuit breaker, whether SWD listed/labeled or not, is not a legal disconnecting means.)


Yes, if the GFCI is designed for that use, and listed for that use. I was forced to amend this answer when I discovered one that actually was!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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