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I have 8 outlets on a single 20A GFCI circuit. 5 outlets in the garage and 3 outlets outside to the patio. First outlet from the box is 20A GFCI. 2nd outlet in the series branches to power the 3 on the patio and the remaining in the garage.

Suspected moisture somewhere outside is tripping the GFCI. Can I add a switch at the 2nd outlet to effectively isolate the 3 outdoor outlets? I don’t use them much this time of year and larger project later this year will solve the problem rewiring the box, but would like to buy 6mos by “turning off” the outside outlets to allow the 5 outlets in the garage to stay online. How would the wiring diagram look?

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    I started to write an answer and then realized it didn't work quite right. But the 1st point I was going to make is that a switch will not entirely solve the problem because a switch is normally on hot and you could have leakage from neutral to ground which will also trip a GFCI. You need to switch both hot & neutral (not so easy, and not sure it is code compliant to do that) or add additional GFCI devices (I thought 1 but actually 2, it gets messy) and do some rewiring in a couple of the boxes to make it all work in a way that protects everything but keeps things somewhat separate. Jan 29 at 2:57
  • Isn't the real solution to eliminate the moisture?
    – Huesmann
    Jan 29 at 16:15
  • Yes, ultimately. Looking for quick short term workaround just to get basic functionality before the big project (which should address root causes) in a few months.
    – Bill S
    Feb 3 at 21:15

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Sure, just interrupt the line feeding the 3 patio outlets with a 2-pole switch, so that both the grounded (neutral) and ungrounded (hot) wires are turned off and on simultaneously with the switch. Using just a regular single-pole switch on the hot as would normally be done would still allow leakage from the neutral to ground to trip the GFCI.

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  • Thanks! I will give this a try.
    – Bill S
    Feb 3 at 21:14

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