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So basically all outlets in our house that should be GFCI are currently standard outlets (at least 2 in kitchen, 1 in garage, maybe others in bathroom but not sure).

However, they are all wired to a GFCI outlet in the master bathroom upstairs. So if the lower ones trip it, you just have to go up and reset it as you would.

I know the inspector said the outlets should be GFCI, but I’ve also read that having a GFCI wired to another can cause issues.

Do I just leave the standard outlets then?

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    One GFCI outlet can protect downstream standard outlets. The age of the house/electrical updates is important, since newer code calls for kitchen circuits to be separate from other rooms. Bathroom outlets are supposed to be on their own circuit also. Having more than one GFCI outlet on the circuit just means you need to look more for the tripped one.
    – crip659
    May 15 at 20:29

3 Answers 3

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There are two separate issues here.

GFCI provides a zone of protection. If properly wired, anything beyond a GFCI protective device is protected. A GFCI protective device can be:

  • A combination circuit breaker and GFCI - The entire circuit is protected.
  • A GFCI "deadfront" - This is a GFCI by itself which does not actually include any receptacles, though it is typically the same size as a standard duplex receptacle. It includes TEST/RESET buttons that are often switch-rated so you can also use them as OFF/ON switches. The design is that power comes in on one set of screws ("line") and goes out, fully GFCI protected, on another set of screws ("load") and everything connected to the load side is protected.
  • A combination duplex receptacle and GFCI - This is what you have in your bathroom and what most non-electricians think of when you say "GFCI". Technically it is a set of screws for incoming power ("line"), which connect to the GFCI and the output of the GFCI is connected to both a duplex receptacle and another set of screws ("load"). If additional devices (e.g., more receptacles) are connected to the "load" screws then those devices are fully GFCI protected.

There is a catch: labeling. Technically speaking, for a downstream receptacle to be GFCI protected, it must be labeled to indicate that it is GFCI protected. If an inspector sees an ordinary receptacle in a place (e.g., kitchen) that requires GFCI protection and it is not labeled then the assumption is that it is not protected. Adding that label removes the doubt and solves the problem.

However, you may have another issue. Your kitchen is supposed to have at least 2 circuits that are dedicated to the kitchen and certain related areas. Your bathroom is supposed to have at least 1 circuit that is dedicated to bathrooms (multiple bathrooms can share the circuit, but they can't share it with other rooms). Older code did not require these dedicated circuits, so you may be OK, but that is something to keep in mind. In particular, you can't make things worse. So if you want to add any new receptacles to your kitchen or bathroom they should be on circuits dedicated to those rooms, and you also shouldn't add receptacles elsewhere (e.g., garage) on the existing circuit.

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  • If every breaker in my panel is GFCI would I still have to label my outlets, technically speaking? May 16 at 11:50
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    @BrianLeishman it's a legal question, not technical one, and something you probably should as as a separate question and not in a comment.
    – Mołot
    May 16 at 13:40
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    @BrianLeishman As with most things electrical, you can debate whether "NEC adopted as code by a jurisdiction" makes it "technical" or "legal". And apparently there some debate whether NEC requires the labels, but they are required if manufacturer instructions require them, and they solve the home inspector problem. See diy.stackexchange.com/questions/162015/… for more detail. I found a GFCI/breaker (Square D Homeline) which actually has as part of the instructions: 8. Install labels (supplied). May 16 at 14:28
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Standard outlets attached to the Load side of a GFCI are a fine way to make sure appropriate GFCI protection is in place. If your inspector wants the GFCI to be close to the load, you can also pigtail the circuit as it goes past each GFCI if you want.

As described you also don't have enough small appliance circuits in your kitchen. There should be two.

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The NEC says "shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel". So protection could be at the receptacle, or by wires connected to "load" terminals of another GFCI outlet, or fed by a GFCI breaker.

You have other potential issues, just potential because although the NEC now says you need at least two kitchen circuits, kitchen receptacle circuits can only feed kitchen receptacles, and bathroom can only feed bathrooms, the Code has not always specified these conditions. If they were installed per Code WHEN they were installed they are legal to remain until altered.

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