There is 1 hot and 4 neutrals tied into one receptacle two neutrals on each screw with one hot on the other side. I want to put GFCI in its place on that circuit. I added a GFCI receptacle downstream.

  • the other GFCI is on a separate circuit but may share the neutral
    – user14920
    Sep 4 '13 at 3:33
  • 1
    How were things hooked up before you took it out and what did it do?
    – DMoore
    Sep 4 '13 at 3:49
  • This sounds like an atypical installation, so it might be worth it to contact a local licensed Electrician to come out and take a look.
    – Tester101
    Sep 4 '13 at 12:09
  • 2
    Are there other black or red wires in the box?
    – bib
    Sep 4 '13 at 13:32
  • You cannot put GFCIs on separate circuits with a shared neutral because the device will "see" a mismatch between hot and neutral currents and instantly trip.
    – bcworkz
    Sep 4 '13 at 23:17

The fact that four neutral (white) wires are connected is not a problem, but the method of connection is. Putting two wires under a terminal screw is not permitted (even if often done) and can lead to a bad connection.

The proper way to connect multiple wires in a box is to connect two or more with wire nuts or the newer push-in connectors (follow wire nut/connector limits on number of wires). While two neutral wires can be attached to the same side of an outlet and this provides connectivity, it is generally considered a poor technique, since a failure in the outlet may disable a downstream device.

In a box with two cables, the preferred way to connect the neutral to the outlet is with a pigtail. Join a short white wire with the two other whites and connect with a wire nut. An additional neutral can be added if there are three cables or a second outlet is present. For more wires, you can join wire bundles with pigtails so long as you do not exceed the required box volume limits.

Hot (black or red) wires can be similarly bundled with wirenuts and pigtails, but this occurs slightly less often because black wires are often separately routed to and from switches.

Connect your neutrals using wire nuts and a pigtail to the neutral side of the GFCI. Connect the hot directly to the outlet.

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