I have installed a single toggle switch/outlet on a GFCI circuit and the outlet is fine, however, the toggle switch for 3 recessed led lights trips the GFCI.

It a Remodel. I have run 12/3 w/grd from source to a gfci outlet. In the circuit is a switch/outlet. The red wire is being used for switch loop.

  • 1
    Did it work before? Is this a new problem? What changed? Is the GFCI a breaker? The outlet listed in the question, is it the GFCI?
    – Tyson
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 12:35
  • There was a piece of tape across the "load" terminals, which had some warnings on it. Did you remove the piece of tape? Why and what did you attach to those terminals? Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 14:11
  • Yes, I took strip off. I attached black/white wires to those terminals and ran it to the toggle/switch.
    – Lucy
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 14:59
  • Is the GFCI+receptacle and the plain receptacle+switch right next to each other in the same box? Does the receptacle at the switch absolutely need to be GFCI protected? Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 5:09

2 Answers 2


The circuit as you have designed it will not work. You have routed current from the load hot terminal of the GFCI through the switch and load, then back to the neutral node in your service panel, bypassing the load neutral terminal of the GFCI. The GFCI senses this imbalance and trips.

You cannot mix a GFCI protected path with an unprotected path. You must either power the toggle switch and LED load completely from the GFCI load terminals, like this:

protected switch and light

or power the toggle switch and LED load completely from the unprotected mains supply, like this:

unprotected switch and light

One path or another will require a 12/4 w/g instead of a 12/3 w/g cable.


Did you hook the neutral to the switch instead of splicing it to the one going to the lights. Power in,power out of switch. Neutrals butt spliced and then properly grounded bare wires.

  • All white neutrals were nutted. Line from GFCI connected to toggle/outlet and connecting bridge not removed. Red wire from top of switch to black light wire.
    – Lucy
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:04
  • "All white neutrals were nutted." Including the LINE side of the GFCI? Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:22
  • Line side of GFCI not nutted, hopefully the diagram helps.
    – Lucy
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:48
  • Kudos to A.I. Breveleri, that was my thinking.....need more wires because the GFCI measures imbalances and my switch leg does not pass back through the GFCI. Problem resolved.
    – Lucy
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 14:24

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