This is new construction, so it should be done to current code. There is a 20A circuit for the garage receptacles. One of the receptacles is a GFCI. Another receptacle is for an on-demand water heater (gas-fired, but electrically controlled) and is specifically labeled Non-GFCI. However, if the GFCI outlet is tripped, all outlets, including the Non-GFCI outlet for the water heater, lose power. Is this correct? They are obviously on the same circuit, but I would expect that the Non-GFCI outlet would be wired to not lose power when the GFCI is tripped.

EDIT To clarify what I mean by "tripped", the circuit breaker is still on, but the GFCI outlet needs to be reset. Also, the outlet for the water heater was specifically labeled as Non-GFCI by the electrician. My guess is that this was done because it shouldn't lose power when there is a ground fault detected on the circuit.

As requested, here is a picture of the outlet. When the GFCI is tripped, all outlets on the circuit lose power, including this one.

enter image description here

  • Despite what the label may say, it is quite likely required by code that a receptacle (plug/cord, not hardwired) for a device in the garage must have GFCI protection. Similarly, a device that is used near water (like, hmmm, a water heater!) must have GFCI protection - so that's strike 2. So it may well be that the receptacle is GFCI protected because it is supposed to be protected, notwithstanding any label to the contrary. Jun 22, 2023 at 17:05
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    Are you sure it says that and not "GFCI Protected"? It must say that if so. Is the label hand written? Is this a simplex (1 socket) outlet? Is this the only outlet that trips with the GFCI? Jun 22, 2023 at 17:16
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    A picture of the outlet in question may help.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 22, 2023 at 17:58
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    the 'load' set of wires pigtailed off of line? I should provide protection to the downstream receptacles." Which is often correct. But which should always have some investigation first. Because typically that is done so that hardwired ceiling lights are not on GFCI (they don't usually need to be). And in this case, would have found the single receptacle for the water heater and either (a) gone back to "NON GFCI" for the connection or (b) decided that GFCI was OK (as I think it really is here) and removed the label. So somebody messed up, somewhere. Jun 22, 2023 at 18:55
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    I highly doubt there is an approved GFCI exception for an on-demand water heater. Makes no sense, whatsoever. Which leaves 3 possibilities: 1 - The label should have said "GFCI Protected" and the installer was confused and used the label they would normally use for a legitimately NOT GFCI-protected refrigerator. Change the label, problem solved. 2 - The receptacle was intended (by water heater installer) to NOT be GFCI protected, but electrician didn't know and/or didn't follow directions and GFCI-protected it. Change the label, problem solved. Jun 22, 2023 at 19:50

2 Answers 2


That outlet looks exactly like it should if an exception has been granted in your building permit or inspection (check). I don't entirely disagree with the idea - bonded copper pipe is pretty good grounding - but you want to make sure that sticker is approved and not a flight of fancy. Also for aesthetic reasons, I would make another label and hand-snip the ends and move it down a bit so the label is entirely on the flat part of the cover.

GFCI receptacles have an optional feature called "Downline Protection". If you do not use it, only the sockets are protected. Wiring this is very easy: attach all wires to "Line" terminals, and the instructions explain how to attach 2 wires to those.

If you do use Downline Protection, you can use this GFCI to protect additional outlets or points of use, by attaching them to the "LOAD" terminals. If this is done, the protected outlets >MUST< be marked "GFCI Protected" via any means not hand-written. This should never be done by default/in ignorance/by accident. To novices I advise "only use LINE".

Unfortunately, most people who install GFCIs are positively pathological about always using Load for all onward wires, and hilarity ensues. In their defense, the GFCI instructions advise doing this. But it's illegal if they don't label too.

People like using the downline protection because it's cheaper than a GFCI at every socket.

However, if the GFCI outlet is tripped, all outlets, including the Non-GFCI outlet for the water heater, lose power. Is this correct?

That's normal if the GFCI is installed in the typical way, with all downline outlets wired to LOAD.

Circuits must be wired (well, cabled) in a tree topology. Cables can branch but not loop (Britain excepted). Most circuits are wired in a species of tree called a 'vine' - a straight daisy chain.

If you want to defeat GFCI protection to this outlet, simply identify every receptacle in the circuit and replace them all with GFCI receptacles, and don't use "Load" terminals on any of them. (Well, if you map out the tree, and you find several receptacles are past this one, you can use downline protection on that part of the circuit).

  • bonded copper pipe is pretty good grounding But at the price of copper, how likely is it that a new house has copper pipe? Jun 22, 2023 at 20:54
  • Thanks for the detailed answer. I'm not necessarily looking to change anything, but wasn't sure if it was working as designed. Some other searching seems to show that this type of outlet is often recommended for these units as start-up could trigger a fault. My assumption was the "non gfci" label meant that it wouldn't be affected when the GFCI outlet tripped. But, I think what i'm hearing is that maybe this outlet won't cause a GFCI fault, but will still lose power when their is a fault on the circuit. Does that sound right?
    – user168671
    Jun 22, 2023 at 20:57
  • @user168671 GFCIs can't read :) If it trips when the GFCI test button is pushed, a ground fault there will trip the GFCI. Jun 22, 2023 at 21:18

New construction has a warranty period. Tell the builder you have an issue.

There was probably a mis-wiring issue. It can be a simple mistake and easily missed on an inspection because the wiring was done to code... just not according to intended use.

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