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I have 6 standard receptacles throughout my house that all wire into a single GFCI directly below my breaker box. This is inconvenient, because if I trip one of them somewhere, the other 5 don't work and I need to reset down at the electrical panel at the single GFCI. I would like to "un-do" this setup and convert the 6 individual standard receptacles to GFCI each. Below is a crude diagram of my setup. For clarity, there is a circuit on the panel for the GFCI box below the panel itself.

enter image description here

I would like confirmation that this is how to achieve this:

  • Remove all 6 of the wires coming out of the LOAD from the GFCI in the basement and pigtail them over to the LINE so that all have constant power in addition to the GFCI in the basement itself.
  • For each of the 6 standard receptacles, replace it with a GFCI receptacle

Potential additional concerns: doing what I want to do might be weird because that means there are 6 different receptacles around the house all on the same circuit (like they were before through the GFCI) as opposed to by location, e.g. "half bath" circuit, etc. Longer term I assume it would be better to have an electrician move each wire to another relevant circuit, e.g. half bath, exterior, full bath 1, etc. Let me know if you agree or if this really isn't an issue.

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    @crip659 It doesn't sound like OP is wiring their GFCIs in series. Every outlet has it's own dedicated line run. I think your comment is moot.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Feb 2, 2023 at 19:58
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    Are there really six cables running into the box in the garage, or is that an assumption? In most cases there would be one cable running to the closest room, then a cable from there to the next one, etc. Your plan still works fine, either way though.
    – Mark
    Feb 2, 2023 at 20:33
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    Oh yes, sorry I do NOT want any of these GFCIs in series. I know that’s a no-no. I want them all independently powered which is why I suggested the pigtail.
    – J Dilly
    Feb 2, 2023 at 20:58
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    I do need to open up the box and see how they are wired at the GFCI. Right now I assume I will find all 6 wires. Big assumption.
    – J Dilly
    Feb 2, 2023 at 20:58
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    @MonkeyZeus I seriously doubt the accuracy of OPs wiring diagram.
    – Glen Yates
    Feb 2, 2023 at 21:23

4 Answers 4

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The plan sounds fine. However, I would keep the outside receptacles on the existing GFCI (still on LOAD). GFCI have relatively complex electronics that will likely not last that long subject to extreme temperatures and weather.

You may also find that there are not 6 separate runs from the existing GFCI box. In particular, the bathrooms may all be on one cable - i.e., cable from basement to 1/2 bath to full bath to full bath. Combining all bathroom receptacles on one circuit is allowed. However, current code (it has not always been this way, and your wiring may be grandfathered) is that bathroom receptacles should be on a circuit dedicated to bathrooms - either all receptacles for multiple bathrooms on one circuit or all stuff for one bathroom (receptacles + lights + fan) on one circuit. Similarly, kitchen receptacles should be on a circuit only serving the kitchen and related ares. If you have room in the panel then I recommend:

  • Move the bathroom receptacles to a separate circuit, with GFCI at each receptacle.
  • Move the kitchen receptacles to a separate circuit, with GFCI at each receptacle.
  • Keep the outdoor receptacles (front and back) on the existing circuit and continue using LOAD off of the existing GFCI in order to avoid the need to put GFCI devices outside.
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  • Not saying your point is invalid, but outdoor-rated GFCI outlets do exist...
    – Matthew
    Feb 3, 2023 at 20:42
  • They do. But since there is already a gfci here why bother Feb 3, 2023 at 20:43
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    @Matthew: That doesn't mean they can't still fail in rather a rather smelly fashion that would be averted by protecting them elsewhere. I would think it would be useful to have a category of GFCE devices whose purpose would be to provide a backup trip in case a ground fault persists long enough to indicate a ground fault within a downstream device, but which would give downstream devices a chance to respond to ground faults before tripping themselves.
    – supercat
    Feb 4, 2023 at 0:09
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Remove all 6 of the wires coming out of the LOAD from the GFCI in the basement and pigtail them over to the LINE so that all have constant power in addition to the GFCI in the basement itself.

Overall, your plan sounds fine because you're not going load -> line (series) between the GFCIs.

I'm a little surprised that the fill limit of your GFCI box hasn't been exceeded though. I would personally convert it to a regular 4"x4" junction box and install the basement GFCI next to it.

I would consider running the outdoor outlets off of the basement GFCI because you really don't want to expose the sensitive electronics to the elements and temperature swings even if it is labeled "WR" for Weather-Rated. I have 6 outdoor outlets running off the load side of a basement GFCI and have never had an issue.

Longer term I assume it would be better to have an electrician move each wire to another relevant circuit, e.g. half bath, exterior, full bath 1, etc. Let me know if you agree or if this really isn't an issue.

Yes, bathrooms and kitchens should be on their own circuits by modern code; sometimes 2 or more circuits for a kitchen is preferable. This is so that you're not tripping a circuit if you wish to blow-dry your hair while microwaving something.

If you haven't been tripping the circuit up till now then I wouldn't call this an immediate issue but certainly get it on your radar.

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enter image description here

Read the instructions and life is easier

Then, you would see the procedure for attaching 2 wires to the LINE terminals.

No pigtails needed.

But obviously, this is happening often enough to be annoying. I gather it's with the same appliance over and over.

The right way is to repair or replace the faulty appliance.

I know for many it is an alien concept that an appliance which is working can have a ground fault, at least that is evident from the countless people who come here saying they have replaced the GFCI receptacles twice and they refuse to stop tripping.

Yes, appliances have ground faults. However, if they have a 2-prong cord and you're not connected with water or anything grounded in any way, there's another possibility.

Note that GFCIs can also trip from in-wall wiring faults. Your plan will defeat this fault detection. Since I gather the first receptacle at the panel has no purpose except to be cheaper than a GFCI breaker, You might consider replacing it with an AFCI deadfront so you will at least have AFCI protection on the wires.

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  • I think you are on to something here. If my existing outlets are all in series with one of them starting at the breaker box GFCI, are you saying simply keep them as is and replace each with a GFCI and instead of the existing “downstream” LOAD put it on the new GFCI line side since each clamp can accommodate two wires?
    – J Dilly
    Feb 3, 2023 at 21:31
  • Pretty much @JDilly, you would also put the first GFCI wired to LINE only. That would cause the faulty appliance to trip the GFCI it's plugged into. If no appliances trip any GFCIs, then you might have faulty wiring. I would start by replacing the original GFCI only to cross off a malfunctioning GFCI. Feb 5, 2023 at 7:17
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Here is my suggestion: If the cables are long enough, re-route into the breaker box and, the big AND you have breaker space available, connect them to additional breakers. Code requires bathrooms to have dedicated circuits (the connection can be shared by multiple bathrooms), but they have to be 20 amp circuits.

The code minimum for a kitchen is 2 20amp circuits for small appliances like a coffee maker, toaster, instant pot, etc. But if it were my house, I'd put in at least 3 20 amp circuits for the kitchen.....oh and yes a dedicated circuit for a dishwasher and if you have or want to have an instant hot water dispenser a circuit for that, Also a dedicated circuit for the microwave. Obviously I'm skipping over requirements for large appliances bc they can vary so much.

I KNOW I KNOW I'm responding to WAY more than you asked, but if you have the opportunity now to "go big", do it!.

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