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I have one circuit that controls 3 receptacles in the kitchen, and also 3 other receptacles in the nearby living room. When I replaced the first on the run, which is also the one above the sink with a GFCI receptacle, I was not able to get a 'correct' signal from tester. I ended up just pigtailed the 3 black wires, and pigtailed the 3 white wires on LINE side. This allows at least one GFCI protection above the sink.

The next receptacle is the one above the stove, which is less than 6 feet from the sink. Do I also need to replace that one with GFCI? If so, I may also just connect all its wires on LINE side.

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    A picture would be appreciated. It sounds like you did it correctly but it's hard to verify that without a picture.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 2, 2021 at 15:59

3 Answers 3

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All receptacles in a kitchen that are (a) near a sink and/or (b) serve a countertop (e.g., even if that is not near a sink, but you could do food preparation there) should be GFCI protected. That can be done at the breaker (advantage: protect entire circuit with one device, disadvantage: GFCI breaker may not be available and even if available will likely cost significantly more than a GFCI receptacle) or at the receptacle (advantage: easy to reset, disadvantage: sometimes complicated to protect multiple receptacles in a chain).

So yes, you should definitely protect any 120V accessible receptacles near your stove (above or to the side). You can do that exactly the same way you did the other one - GFCI receptacle with existing wires pigtailed to the LINE side. That is by far the simplest way to do this.

Alternatively, you can use LINE/LOAD. It really isn't that hard. Generally speaking:

  • Identify which wires are currently the incoming (from breaker or elsewhere) power.

    • Turn off the circuit breaker.
    • Disconnect all the wires currently going to the receptacle.
    • Separate all the wires so that the bare ends can't touch each other or anything else.
    • Turn on the circuit breaker.
    • Use a non-contact tester to carefully check which black wire(s) are hot. You should get a reading on exactly one black wire. If you get a reading on 0 or more than 1, STOP and ask for more help.
    • Turn off the circuit breaker.
  • Connect the identified hot black wire and its matching (same cable) white wire to the new GFCI receptacle.

  • Cap off (wire nut) all the other wires temporarily for safety.

  • Turn on the circuit breaker.

  • Test the GFCI (TEST/RESET) and the receptacle. If you have problems, STOP and ask for more help.

  • Turn off the circuit breaker.

  • Pigtail the other wires (blacks together to hot, whites together to neutral) to the LOAD side of the GFCI.

  • Turn on the circuit breaker.

  • Test the GFCI (TEST/RESET) and the receptacle. If you have problems, STOP and ask for more help.

  • Test the downstream receptacles. If you have a GFCI tester, you can use that to verify the GFCI operation. Label them "GFCI protected". (Or not. Nobody does. But you are supposed to. Especially if they are kitchen receptacles that should be GFCI protected.)

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DIY is a global site and naturally electrical rules vary around the world. If we infer that you might be located in USA and subject to some version of NEC rules then it's reasonable to refer to the 2017 edition which does require GFCI protection for receptacles within 6 feet of the sink. Note that it clarifies how the distance is to be measured: "For the purposes of this section when determining distance from receptacles the distance shall be measured as the shortest path the cord of an appliance connected to the receptacle would follow without piercing a floor, wall, ceiling or fixed barrier, or passing through a door, doorway, or window."

If the receptacle above the stove happens to be behind a (cabinet) door, or if a 6-foot cord plugged there would not be able to reach the sink because it has to bend around obstacles, then it is not closer than 6 feet and does not require GFCI.

If it does require GFCI, there's nothing wrong with bundling all the wires together and pigtailing to connect to the receptacle. That's a fine way to deal with it.

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  • thank you for your comment. Your point about using a 6-foot cord as a measurement is interesting. If I measure the direct distance through the empty space, my above-stove receptacle is less than 6 feet; but if I measure by bending along the stove and countertop to reach sink, it is more than 6 feet. This prompts me to ask about the whole purpose of 6 feet requirement: is it to prevent water splashing from the sink within a 6-foot radius, or other reasons?
    – jh4986
    Aug 2, 2021 at 18:21
  • @jh4986 That's precisely why the 2017 code added the explanation. Because earlier codes simply said "6 feet," well-meaning individuals sometimes asserted that the requirement applied even to a receptacle facing into another room on the opposite side of the wall, in the cabinet beneath the sink (for waste disposer or dishwasher) etc. The code maintainers clarified that the intent is to protect against shock that could occur if a person worked near the sink with a mains-powered appliance -- which can happen only if the distance "as the cord lays" is less than "nominal cord length" of 6 feet.
    – Greg Hill
    Aug 2, 2021 at 18:41
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The current NEC requires protection for any receptacle within 6' of a sink and for any receptacle serving countertop space in the kitchen regardless of location in relationship to a sink.

Local regulation may have additional stipulations, but in the US if your house was built before the NEC required Ground Fault protection the NEC doesn't obligated you to provide it unless you change a receptacle in a location that now requires protection. It would be a good idea even if not required.

If the first receptacle you replaced was a GFCI that provided protection for downstream locations that require protection then you need to provide more details to correct your wiring issues.

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