I have a residential living space above a detached garage in central Texas. The structures were built in the 1998-2000 timeframe. There is a circuit on which a series of outlets stopped working recently, so I located a GFCI outlet in the bathroom which is the link in this chain that's causing the outage.

I bought a new GFCI outlet with plans to change it out, but while isolating the breaker in the external box, I discovered that this series of outlets in the garage and the living space above it are on a circuit shared by swimming pool equipment. The specific breaker is a double-pole with two 60A breaker components joined with a single, bridged trip mechanism.

Is there any problem replacing the existing GFCI outlet with a 20A rated GFCI if it is served by one wire of this 60A double-pole circuit breaker? I believe it's more common for the amperage rating of the outlet to match that of the circuit, no?

Photo of the circuit breaker that disables the bathroom and garage outlets is attached for reference.



  • 5
    Are there any other panels on the property? That 60A double-pole is likely feeding a subpanel which will contain the 15A or 20A single pole breaker that feeds your GFCI
    – Chris O
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 20:33
  • 2
    Check the swimming pool equipment. The second 60 amp breaker is probably too big also. Does Texas even have pool heaters(probably the only reason for 60 amps)? @ChrisO has a good question and I hope he is right.
    – crip659
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 20:35
  • 3
    @crip659 That's a standard double pole 60A homeline breaker, not two singles with a handle tie. (Note the Common Trip wording - two singles tied wouldn't be able to do that)
    – Chris O
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 20:35
  • @ChrisO I will go with your explanation. Just seems weird to have what looks like a handle tie on a double pole, but I have very little experience on breaker design.
    – crip659
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 20:56
  • 2
    @crip659 you're right it is double pole (connects to both hot legs) and is handle-tied (the bridge piece) -- but it's also common trip, which means the whole thing is a single module, two breaker-slots wide. Its appearance is nearly the same as two adjacent, discrete single-pole breakers, which may be what leads to the confusion. Two singles with a handle tie (also an option in Homeline) is allowed for pure 240-volt loads like a water heater or air conditioner, and common trip is optional for those, but mixed 120/240-volt loads like clothes dryer or a subpanel require the common trip.
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 21:04

1 Answer 1


This is our second case in 2 days of someone finding a subpanel feeder, shutting it off, and observing that the 120V outlet of interest loses power. That is not a complete picture.

It's extremely unlikely that someone hung half the house off 120V outlets fed from a 60A breaker. What is more likely is someone feeding a 60A subpanel, and you have not found the subpanel yet. Keep looking.

  • To add some detail, the panel shown is a main panel where the city power connects to the property, & it's on the exterior of the garage near the pool equipment. The main home, which sits separate from the garage structure, has it's own interior Homeline sub-panel. Given the physical separation of the structures + the 15 & 20 breakers on the main panel in the photo, I assumed one of those would control the circuit for GFCI outlet in the garage structure. After some trial & error testing, I realized only the double-60 affected it.
    – Lonestar
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 2:28
  • Thanks to all those who have offered suggestions & guidance. Especially @harper-reinstate-monica. I'll resume testing the 15 and 20A circuits on the homeline subpanel and update the labels accordingly when/if I find that one of those handles the GFCI back over at the other structure. I appreciate the expertise and the time taken to share feedback with someone less knowledgable about residential electrical wiring. Cheers.
    – Lonestar
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 2:31
  • @Lonestar I would search the same building the circuit is in. Generally branch circuits don't hop from building to building (it's a code violation) but typically each building has a subpanel. Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 20:10

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