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Dzarate29 10-31-2013 09:52 AM

GFCI outlets vs GFCI breakers
My home was built in 1958 with romex and ungrounded 2 prong outlets. We are currently upgrading the breaker box from 60 amp service with fuses to 100 amp service with breakers. It would be nearly impossible to rewire most of the outlets without major work. We are debating whether to use a GFCI outlet at the beginning of each circuit with regular ungrounded 3 prong outlets on the rest of the circuit, or just install ungrounded 3 prong outlets everywhere and use GFCI breakers in the breaker box. I know the GFCI breakers would be a decent amount more money, but might save time tracking down outlets in a circuit. Also, there are 2 GFCI outlets in the kitchen and 1 in the bathroom, if i went with the GFCI breakers would this cause a problem for these outlets? Thanks guys

bud16415 10-31-2013 10:35 AM

I stand corrected. There is no measurement between common and ground as I always assumed its only imbalance between hot and common. Sorry for confusion I had never wired one omitting the ground and or tested the down line circuit. Sorry for the misleading comment.

JoeD 10-31-2013 11:54 AM

GFCI DOES NOT need the ground wire to work.
GFCI is a valid code compliant replacement for two wire ungrounded receptacles.

CallMeVilla 10-31-2013 12:31 PM

Yes, multiple GFCIs on the same circuit ARE a problem. They will conflict with each other and give you trouble. If you go to GFCI breakers for GFCI circuits (kitchens and bathrooms), you would have to replace the GFCI receptacles with appropriate standard receptacles.

HOWEVER, you should be using AFCIs in the bedrooms and living spaces, not GFCIs Arc Fault Circuit Interruptors do a different job. Use them in the proper spaces.

For more:

JoeD 10-31-2013 01:50 PM

GFCI do not conflict with each as far preventing them from working. However it is useless to have one GFCI feeding another GFCI off the LOAD terminals since one can do the job. Also you never know for sure which one will trip and then you have go and check them all.

bud16415 11-01-2013 08:54 AM

In assuming wrongly that a GFCI used ground as a reference I read up a little on this and code compliance and some of the problems people have in using these as a method to upgrade an old wired home, I read that these outlets have to be labeled as “No Ground” Is this still a code requirement and do people follow it as I can’t ever remember seeing one marked. Another common complaint in favor of GFCI breakers is most circa 1950’s wiring was done octopus style running wire to light box and then off to outlets. I have seen this quite a bit. I also read there are some appliances code requires a ground. Not sure what those are or why. I know some electronics uses the ground wire as a discharge path also.

When wired this way I assume common testers won’t show the outlet as wired correctly or a GFCI tester won’t trigger it.

JoeD 11-01-2013 11:32 AM

Any surge suppressor used on a non ground receptacle(GFCI or not) will likely indicate a fault. These devices rely on the ground to dissipate the surge.
No other device I know of requires the ground. It is only there for safety and the GFCI will provide that function.


When wired this way I assume common testers won’t show the outlet as wired correctly or a GFCI tester won’t trigger it.
Correct. One of those plugin GFCI testers won't work. a home inspector will often call out the GFCI circuit as faulty when there in fact nothing wrong with it.

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