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In the middle of a remodel. So I have two bathrooms connected on the same 20A circuit and both currently have GFCI. Bathroom 1(B1) GFCI is wired to the LINE/source and its LOAD powers Bathroom 2(B2) GFCI. I plan to install an additional standard outlet in each bathroom that would be protected by the existing GFCI. I was wondering if I should :

  • Connect all the outlets including the existing B2 GFCI by the Load side of Main GFCI(i.e all downstream outlets protected by B1 GFCI)
  • Connect the two bathroom GFCI's on the LINE (pigtail) and run the new outlet coming out of each of them via respective LOAD (i.e new outlets are protected by the respective GFCI's in each bathroom)

https://imgur.com/5fnAJ5B

PS: Refer to the original post here - Need to install a new outlet : from Light Fixture or GFCI? How to go about it? I thought this question needed it's own post.

Update : Suprise! So decided to go with Option 2: Two GFCI’s connected by Line and standard outlet connected to load in each bathroom. It worked fine but when I tested the GFCI, all outlets went off but the breaker was fine.. then next day tested all the GFCI’s in the house to find out that the line is actually connected to the guest bathroom downstairs..yes so there’s a 3rd bathroom!

So now it’s 3 bathrooms on 20A breaker (on the LINE) and 2 bathroom with additional receptacles (on the LOAD).. and it seems to be working fine so far!

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    I believe connecting both GFCIs to line is best, then use load for simple receptacles. I think most GFCIs use the wire clamp system, so two wires are allowed under one screw, instead of needing a pigtail/one wire per screw.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 7 at 20:34
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    If the existing outlet in B2 is connected to the LOAD terminals of the B1 outlet, B2 does not, in fact, need to be a GFCI outlet!
    – Huesmann
    Commented Apr 8 at 12:59
  • @crip659: yes- that’s what I did.. except there’s 3 GFCI’s on the line now. Also used the screw and clamp.. made it so much easier to work with the limited space.
    – bsong
    Commented Apr 9 at 13:36
  • @Huesmann : i agree but the GFCi’s came to this house before we did so don’t plan on replacing it now. I’m hoping there’s no other issues with this setup?
    – bsong
    Commented Apr 9 at 13:39

1 Answer 1

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Let's name the receptacles as follows:

  • 1A = Bathroom 1, first receptacle
  • 1B = Bathroom 1, second receptacle
  • 2A = Bathroom 2, first receptacle
  • 2B = Bathroom 2, second receptacle

You can do any of the following:

Single GFCI

  • 1A = GFCI/receptacle
  • 1B and 2A connected to load side of 1A
  • 2B connected to 1B

This is the least expensive option - only one GFCI. The only disadvantage is that a GFCI trip in one bathroom will cut off power in the other bathroom. But as long as no lights are on the GFCI-protected part of the circuit, that should not be a big deal.

GFCI per Bathroom

  • 1A = GFCI/receptacle
  • 2A = GFCI/receptacle connected to line side of 1A
  • 1B connected to load side of 1A
  • 2B connected to load side of 2A

This is quite common as it means a GFCI trip in one bathroom only affects that bathroom - no confusion. This is the same as the second option in the original post.

GFCI per Receptacle

  • 1A = GFCI/receptacle
  • 2A and 1B = GFCI/receptacle connected to line side of 1A
  • 2B = GFCI/receptacle connected to line side of 2A

This is the most expensive option. It generally doesn't make sense. However, technically speaking any bathroom receptacle requires GFCI protection either at that receptacle or labeled based on protection at a different receptacle or at the breaker. Sometimes separate GFCI/receptacles are installed due to not understanding how to wire and label the receptacles to avoid needing additional GFCIs.

What you want to avoid is:

Multiple Levels of GFCI

This can happen if, as described in option 1 on the original post, you connect a GFCI/receptacle to the load side of another GFCI/receptacle. This often happens if there are unlabeled receptacles that are already GFCI protected: A pre-sale home inspector notes the lack of any label and doesn't bother to test to see if the receptacle is in fact protected. Rather than test and then put a label on the receptacle, the seller (who is in a rush to get the sale done) simply replaces the ordinary receptacle with a GFCI/receptacle.

The problem is that when there are multiple levels of GFCI in a circuit, it can be hard to properly reset them when a trip occurs.

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    The "single GFCI" layout also has the advantage of fewer failure points, and easier troubleshooting—don't need to figure out which GFCI has failed (you've alluded to this, of course).
    – Huesmann
    Commented Apr 8 at 13:00
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    Updated the original question- Went with Option 2: GFCI per bathroom : except it’s 3 GFCIs on the same circuit ( LINE) now. While this is probably unnecessary but the GFCI’s came with the house.. don’t plan on replacing them now.. just needed two additional outlets in two bathrooms.. and that’s working fine now. Is this future proof? I’m not sure.. what do you all think
    – bsong
    Commented Apr 9 at 13:29

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