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New home build in Canada. Most wiring is protected via AFCI breakers in main electrical panel (EP). One out of 6 outdoor sockets is a GFCI socket - remaining 5 are normal sockets wired to AFCI breaker in EP. None of kitchen sockets are GFCI (they are AFCI-protected at EP).

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    arc faults and ground faults are not the same thing... Oct 27, 2021 at 17:43
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    Any chance that the 5 outdoor outlets are connected to the load terminals of the one outdoor GFCI?
    – JACK
    Oct 27, 2021 at 17:48

1 Answer 1

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GFCIs come in all sizes

Well, you're ahead of the curve calling it a "GFCI Receptacle" implying there are other kinds, which indeed there are. They make

  • GFCI + overcurrent circuit breaker (looks like a tall breaker)
  • GFCI + AFCI + overcurrent circuit breaker (ditto)
  • GFCI + receptacle + switch combo device
  • GFCI + receptacle combo device (what you're used to)
  • Standalone GFCI (aka dead front: looks like a GFCI receptacle with no holes)
  • GFCI switch (looks like a dead front with the buttons labeled "ON" and "OFF")

So the first possibility is that the "AFCI" breaker there is in fact a GFCI+AFCI breaker, conferring protection to the entire downline circuit.

All GFCIs can confer protection to the downline circuit

In fact, a GFCI's "Load" terminals should never, ever be used for any other purpose. Generally an onward circuit should be attached to "Line" (the Line screws take 2 wires each) unless you want to protect the downline circuit.

This is even a Code requirement. NEC 110.3(B)-> instructions 8(C) requires you label all downline outlets that have been thus protected. You can't protect them if you don't know which they are, so it's a prima facie Code violation to use Load terminals carelessly.

So it's possible the house was wired so that the power comes from an AFCI breaker to the first outdoor GFCI receptacle... then off that recipe's "Load" terminals all the way around the perimeter of the house serving all the other outdoor plain receptacles.

But then, where are the "GFCI Protected" labels? They would need to be there.

My guess is somebody forgot to label the outlets. I like labels that come from a Brother or P-Touch label maker, rather than the default ones which are ugly and fall off.

Get yourself a GFCI tester, hopefully one with a more useful label (the one indicating what the 3 lights mean is useless and misleading), and try each outlet in turn.

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