I have a 15amp circuit that feeds outlets in the upstairs bedrooms, the one outlet in the upstairs bathroom and a few light fixtures. A few years ago I replaced the bathroom outlet with a GFCI outlet and I replaced another bedroom outlet, with an open ground, with a GFCI outlet. I would like AFCI protection and am considering a dual function ACFI/GFCI circuit breaker to replace the current circuit breaker (specifically this guy: https://www.schneider-electric.us/en/product/HOM115DFC/miniature-circuit-breaker-120v-15a/ ).

My question is, do I need to remove the existing GFCI outlets or is having the redundant protection at the breaker and the receptacle acceptable? Is it more than acceptable and even benficial?

2 Answers 2


It's redundant. It's acceptable. It's not beneficial except in the unlikely event of a GFCI failure.


For now: swap the receptacles for regular receptacles, to avoid astonishing results

I would swap the GFCI receptacles for regular receptacles with "GFCI Protected" labels on them if I were in your shoes. Why? Because having two GFCIs in series is a setup for astonishing results due to the fact Class A GFCIs are not, and cannot be, selectively coordinated with each other. As a result, if a fault occurs in a device plugged into one of the GFCI receptacles (you can simulate this with the TEST button on the receptacles), there is no guarantee that that GFCI, and only that GFCI, will trip -- you may trip the GFCI receptacle, you may trip the GFCI breaker, cutting power to the GFCI receptacle before the receptacle gets the chance to trip, or you may trip both the GFCI breaker and the GFCI receptacle at once, requiring the breaker and the receptacle to be reset in that order.

For the future: get a 20A DFCI breaker for your panel and run a new homerun to the bathroom for the receptacle

For some time, the NEC has required bathroom receptacles to be on a 20A branch circuit -- either one dedicated to bathroom receptacles, or one dedicated to serving that particular bathroom. This is laid out in NEC 210.11(C)(3):

(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one 120-volt, 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply the bathroom(s) receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall have no other outlets.

Exception: Where the 20-ampere circuit supplies a single bathroom, outlets for other equipment within the same bathroom shall be permitted to be supplied in accordance with 210.23(A)(1) and (A)(2).

As a result, you will need to get a 20A DFCI breaker of the appropriate type for your panel and some 12/2 NM and run the cable from the breaker panel to the upstairs bathroom receptacle in question, then wire the cable to the breaker (ground to ground bar, neutral and hot to matching breaker screws, and breaker neutral pigtail to neutral bar), provided your panel has an open breaker space and you aren't under Chicago-style code, that is.

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