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I have a condo that hasn't been updated in probably decades, and I am looking to sell it in the near future. As part of my updates, I am installing GFCI outlets in the bathrooms and in the kitchen countertop areas.

However, there is perhaps a situation with my bathrooms. The first floor half-bath and the second-floor full bathroom outlets are on the same circuit. The lights and fans of both bathrooms are on another circuit entirely. This line appears to run just up the wall and power the both bathroom outlets only.

This NEC set of rules says that all bathroom outlets must be GFCI. However, I'm looking at some questions on this site, and it appears that having two on the same circuit might cause some inconvenient, if not unexpected, behavior. This answer seems to indicate that two on the same circuit will cause one to not function properly if the second trips, while this answer says that finding which outlet tripped is an annoyance, when you're not expecting two on the same circuit.

In any case, it seems that one GFCI outlet on the circuit is all that is necessary, strictly speaking, to provide adequate protection.

However, in terms of salability, I would like any potential buyers to look at the bathrooms, see GFCI outlets in both, and not give it a second thought. If they see a regular outlet in the bathroom, they may balk, or have concerns about the property, even if the circuit is adequately wired and protected. I don't want the realtor to say "Don't worry, the owner assures me this is perfectly fine"-- I want it to be a non-issue.

Is there a way to wire two GFCIs on the same circuit, and not have any issue in functionality? It seems like this would be addressed, either in code, or in the hardware itself-- I can't be the only person who has a legitimate, code-driven need for two GFCIs on the same circuit, can I?

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Just connect the cable from the second outlet to the "line" side of the first GFCI (or wire-nut and pigtail the first GFCI. Then install the 2nd GFCI normally.

Alternatively, most GFCI outlets come with little stickers to put on the cover plates of downstream protected outlets. If you choose that route, you would wire the cable to the 2nd outlet to the "load" side of the first outlet.

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    I think this is better than a GFCI breaker because you can reset the device right there for each bathroom and won’t create the nuisance trips.+
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 16, 2020 at 16:11
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    I agree, Ed. I just finished up wiring my son's house and he decided on dual function (AFCI & GFCI) breakers in the panel. I did warn him that nuisance trips would mean a trip to the panel and I suggested AFCI breakers for kitchen and bath with GFCI outlets installed locally. Given the OP's situation with a bath on 2 stories, I also think 2 GFCIs would best. You don't want to take a trip downstairs to the lower bath room to reset a GFCI. (Esp. if it's "occupied", LOL) Mar 16, 2020 at 16:39
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Option 1, fit one GFCI recep, put sticker on the other.
Option 2, fit two GFCI receps, and use only the LINE terminals.

GFCI rules

This NEC set of rules says that all bathroom outlets must be GFCI.

Not at all. Plain outlets are fine if they're downline from a GFCI device. However...

However, in terms of salability, I would like any potential buyers to look at the bathrooms, see GFCI outlets in both, and not give it a second thought. If they see a regular outlet in the bathroom...

But they should not. They should see this.

enter image description here src: The Family Handyman

That's a Code requirement. If they don't see that, then you're absolutely correct: they should doubt this installation. Of course, 99% of the time, the stickers are never applied or the homeowners tear them off.

Two GFCIs on same circuit, that don't act weird

Is there a way to wire two GFCIs on the same circuit, and not have any issue in functionality?

Yes. Most GFCI receptacles ship with a warning sticker on the "Load" terminals, intending they not be used carelessly. That is because downline parts of the circuit attached to the "Load" terminals are also protected by that GFCI device.

Putting another GFCI receptacle inside that protected zone is not unsafe, but creates bizarre and annoying problems if they trip.

So, if you want mutual GFCI devices on a circuit without the nuisance of entangled trip effects, simply do not use the LOAD wires on the first GFCI receptacle, so that the second receptacle is not in its protected zone, and the second receptacle acts independently. Easy peasy.

Read the GFCI instructions for how to attach 2 wires under one screw.



Honestly, I prefer people stick to the "don't remove the warning tape" strategy unless they understand GFCI downline protection and have a specific downline in mind that they want to protect.

Now some people say "Oh, but if we can trick novices into accidentally protecting the downline, that's bettah". I don't think so, because I've supported those people as they go in dervishes trying to understand why their house wiring doesn't work. Many just give up and unfurl extension cords, and now they have no GFCI protection in their bathroom at all. Also remember, the stickers are mandatory, so protecting a mystery downline is a code violation.

There is one exception where it's vital to stop and learn how to competently wield the LOAD terminals: When the wiring needs protecting too, because it traverses a danger area like a water feature, dockside etc. That's where you make heavy use of LOAD on a GFCI device well out of the danger area. But then, of course, you need stickers.

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  • The sticker goes on the plate and not the outlet itself? Whatever... I didn't make the rules : P
    – user151841
    Mar 16, 2020 at 23:17
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    @user151841 The sticker is fine on the outlet itself if there's room. There isn't, unless you're using Decora style outlets. I don't see a problem with sticker on the plate. You can also use a plate with the words molded or laser etched into it, and it doesn't need to be blue. I prefer making the sticker on a P-touch labelmaker with white tape, and then using a white plate. I also prefer to state where the reset is. GFCI Protected / reset in other bathroom. The classier you make it, the less likely goobers are to peel it off. Mar 16, 2020 at 23:46
  • Well, idk, looking at this with my programmer glasses, my concern would be that if average home owners can't be trusted to wire GCFI outlets correctly, they can't be trusted to manage these labels correctly... it's easy to move one plate to another outlet, and then it appears to be that that outlet is GCFI protected, when it isn't!
    – user151841
    Mar 17, 2020 at 17:38
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    @user151841 Yeah, I know... but that's a huge vulnerability of the system at large. There's no keying, there's barely any color coding. We daily see the fiascos done by well meaning people who simply fail to realize they needed to do more research. Imagine what a genuine fool could do! My best hope is to get fools to not use LOAD at all, which takes the label issue off the table. Mar 17, 2020 at 18:32
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There's a difference between "daisy-chaining" (sequential GFCI) and having multiple on different branches of the same circuit. I haven't heard of the latter being troublesome. You won't get around potential nuisance trips with the former.

If that's not your scenario, Just put one in and use the stickers to label the downstream outlets. That's standard procedure and allays any buyer concerns nicely, I'd think. If anyone is really that worried you can demonstrate protection by tripping the unit in the other bathroom.

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  • I've often thought GFCI-protected stickers should indicate where to find the GFCI outlet. I suppose trying to have preprinted stickers for every possible location might be impractical, but having some common ones like "Other bathroom", "In this room", "Other side of wall", etc. would seem useful.
    – supercat
    Aug 25, 2021 at 16:07
  • That would certainly be a good additional place to have the information since stickers can get lost, but if an outlet goes dead, being able to look at it and know where to go would seem helpful. BTW, I've also thought it would be helpful to have a kitchen use beige outlets for one circuit and white for the other, so as to make it clear what someone would need to do if they want to use a water boiler and toaster simultaneously, though what would be even nicer would be if one could have boxes fed from a common 40A or 50A circuit each contain a duplex receptacle and two 20A circuit breakers.
    – supercat
    Aug 25, 2021 at 16:19
  • @supercat if you put your toaster on a 40A breaker, it (or the wiring to it) would catch on fire long before the breaker tripped. That would be a Bad Thing™.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 12 at 13:11
  • @FreeMan: I said and two 20A breakers, so the box would act as a combination of a subpanel and a pair of outlets. I've seen some electrical boxes with individual breakers in them in things like music practice rooms (wired, interestingly enough, as a light switch that controlled both the room light and the outlet), but I've not seen them in residential settings. I would think it should be possible and useful have a four-wide box with two breakers and two duplex outlets--one fed by each breaker.
    – supercat
    Jan 12 at 15:49
  • @FreeMan: Putting the 20A breakers near the outlets would mean reduce the total length of individual 20A wires would make tripping of breakers less common than in places with two separate 20A circuits, and also make resetting the breakers more convenient than in places where they would be located in the main panel.
    – supercat
    Jan 12 at 16:03

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