I am replacing an outlet in my kitchen and if I replace a regular outlet with a GFCI it and the kitchen lights stop working. If I put back the old outlet or a new "regular" outlet everything works.

The way the old is wired is the top white is one wire stripped and looped around the top screw. Black is opposite where the bottom is one wire stripped and looped around. From what I can tell it's tied in to the kitchen lights because they stop working as well if I use the GFCI.

I used the GFCI in another location and it works, so I think it has to do with the looped around wire.

I removed the tape and wired up the GFCI in the same way.

Pictures of each side of old. enter image description hereenter image description here

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  • Could you tell us how you wired up the GFCI with these extra wires? Did you uncover the 'LOAD' terminals on the GFCI and use those? Please edit your question to add these details rather than replying in the comments. Also please include your photos in your question rather than posting an external link.
    – brhans
    Apr 27, 2020 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


So did you wire the GFCI "the same way" which would mean ignoring the warning tape and connecting (probably) hot to the LINE hot and neutral to the LOAD neutral? [less probably the Hot to LOAD hot and the neutral to LINE neutral, given the "usual" interpretation of "top")

That won't work and would tend to explain the problem.

Try connecting both wires you have to the LINE terminals, ONLY, and see what happens. Ah, your pictures indicate that you have more wires than you mentioned - still, the problem is almost certainly due to the fact that the two screws on a "normal" outlet are tied together (unless the "tab" is broken, usually on the hot side only, which is very common in kitchen outlets wired as a MWBC - but usually that brings a red wire into the picture.) The screws on a GFCI are different - one set is the LINE where power comes in, the other set is the LOAD and normally under protective tape in hopes that the person installing it will realize that they are different than normal outlets.

You can wire-nut all the whites you have together with a short white (commonly known as a pig-tail) and connect THAT to LINE neutral, and wire-nut all the blacks together with a short black and connect that to the LINE hot, which should work.

It will likely also work (and GFCI protect something else, but we don't know what yet) if you put one "set" of wires on the LINE and the other "set" on the load, rather than "crossing" sets as you have it - i.e. probably the "looped" wires are a set, and the end-stripped wires are a set, and one or the other of those is also the connection to power - I'd guess the looped set, but that's just a guess. If it does not work that way, swap sets and try again.

  • Thanks for the explanation. I apologize for my poor explanation, and fixed the pictures. Would either option be preferable to the other?
    – Luke D
    Apr 27, 2020 at 12:35
  • Depends what's connected to what, which you'll need to figure out. If other outlets are connected to the wires that turn out not to be where power comes from, connecting them to the LOAD terminals will GFCI protect them as well (and you should apply the little stickers that come with the GFCI to indicate that, though they tend not to last long in real life.) If the "non-power-source" wires are to the lights, then it will get dark every time the GFCI trips, so wire-nut pig-tail don't use LOAD at all would be preferable. You can also cut the loop and have more options.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 27, 2020 at 12:42
  • Thanks again, that was it, got it working now.
    – Luke D
    May 2, 2020 at 19:12

and wired up the GFCI in the same way.

Meaning 2 wires to 2 screws per side.

A GFCI is a very different kind of device that requires very different wiring. So that's why that didn't work.

You should never, ever remove the warning tape or use the LOAD terminals unless you're specifically planning to confer GFCI protection to a downline load. There is no other use for LOAD. If you only want GFCI protection at this receptacle, don't use LOAD.

And "don't use LOAD" is the configuration I recommend for novices. *

Fortunately, almost all GFCIs allow "Screw-and-clamp" attachment of 2 wires to each screw. So you should either pigtail or use the Screw-and-clamp method to attach all wires to the appropriate LINE terminal. And put the warning tape back on LOAD.

This is a particular problem with "shared neutral" or "MWBC" type circuits. LOAD cannot be used on these (not even by experts). In fact, Code requires neutrals be pigtailed anyway, so there should only be 1 neutral wire going to the recep, not 3.

* Don't get me wrong, it's clever to artfully use the LOAD terminals so you only need to use 1 GFCI per circuit, but I am very against tricking novices into doing this unawares. I'd much rather novices install 1 GFCI per recep. Doing it unawares creates huge problems, either immediately when it exposes crossed-neutral problems that the novice is totally unequipped to resolve, or down the road when something trips and they don't know how to reset it. Either way, the novice never solves the problem and rips out the GFCI, and now you're worse off.

  • Ahh, thanks for the additional info, good to know for future reference
    – Luke D
    May 2, 2020 at 19:13

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