I have a single, feed cable that comes up behind my counter into a single gang box. This box has an unprotected outlet. This cable is then teed off to the left and right. The left cable feeds a GFCI close to the sink. The right feeds another unprotected outlet. All three are over the counter and, I believe, should be protected. Here's the question: can I replace the center outlet with another GFCI and use it to feed the right outlet? I seem to remember something about not being able to use two GFCI units on a single neutral fed circuit due to differential currents causing one or the other GFCI to trip.

Any thoughts or answers are greatly appreciated!

  • You mentioned a multi-wire branch circuit (2 hots and 1 shared neutral). Because of that, we'd have to see the particulars of how it is wired. Mar 21, 2019 at 20:57
  • Can you post photos of the insides of the boxes involved? Mar 22, 2019 at 0:42
  • Harper, my description was misleading. I have a single 12/2 with ground feeder cable. I did replace the GFCI with a new one. The "Load" terminals have two connections on each screw so I was able to readily connect both unprotected outlets to the Load side. ThreePhaceEel, sorry I did not see your comments until after I closed up the boxes. Simply picture three 12/2 with ground cables coming together in a TEE. I placed the feeder cable on the "line" side and then placed both of the side cables on the Load side. I really appreciate all the comments! Mar 23, 2019 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


You could move the GFCI outlet to the center box and have it protect a regular outlet by the sink. A GFCI outlet has "line" and "load" terminals. The line side is for the incoming power. Load is for downstream, regular outlets that need protection.

Pigtail both outlets to the load side of the GFI in the center box. They don't need to be in a linear chain or anything.

  • @davidskinner, I've seen some GFI outlets in pretty bad shape. When you pull the old one out to move it, really look at it and consider replacing it if you have any concerns.
    – JPhi1618
    Mar 21, 2019 at 18:39
  • It depends on when your home was built if they are required. By today's code just about everything is GFCI or AFCI protected. Although you don't have to update GFCI's close to water or outside is a good place to start.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 21, 2019 at 19:11
  • A possible gotcha: A GFCI may not leave room for the pigtails. It's hard enough getting one back in the box with 2 sets of wires attached to it. Mar 22, 2019 at 20:30
  • @SherwoodBotsford, That's true. Now they have "slim" GFCI and some that can be backwired with two sets of wires so you wouldn't need any pigtails. Removing the box and replacing it with a 20ci box would probably be best if it isn't one already.
    – JPhi1618
    Mar 22, 2019 at 20:39
  • Thanks Guys for all the responses. I replaced the GFCI with a unit that has the side wire option. Straight wires inserted into the back with a clamping screw. I really wish they would make the ground screw the same configuration! Mar 23, 2019 at 21:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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