A circuit breaker and a fuse break a circuit in case of an electrical fault to avoid electrical fires and the burning of wires. Similarly, a GFCI outlet is a special circuit breaker that breaks the circuit at the outlet to prevent any damage.
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and is used in power outlets.
Can you have multiple GFCI outlets on the same circuit?
Yes, you can have multiple GFCI outlets on the same circuit. You can wire a GFCI to protect a single outlet or all the connected outlets of the same circuitry. Having multiple GFCI circuits on the same circuitry eliminates the need to look for the master circuit breaker.
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As mentioned earlier, a GFCI breaks a circuit when it detects an electrical fault. When it detects a fault, it automatically shuts off the power to the outlet to prevent any injury to the user and damage to the plugged-in appliance. It works similar to a circuit breaker or a fuse.
GFCI outlets can be wired to work in two ways. It can be wired to protect a single outlet or, it can be wired to protect multiple outlets that are connected by the same circuit. When a GFCI is used to protect a single outlet, that outlet is referred to as a GFCI outlet.
Some buildings have multiple GFCI outlets. Having more than one GFCI outlet prevents the need to look for the master GFCI of the whole circuit. For example, commercial buildings have multiple GFCI outlets for use.
How many GFCI outlets can you have on the same circuit?
In general, there are no limits on how many GFCI outlets you can have on the same circuit. A GFCI functions the same as a traditional circuit breaker. It will protect up to 20A in a 20A rated circuitry and 15A in a 15A rated circuitry.
According to most local electrical codes and the national electrical code, the amperage rating should not exceed 80 percent of the total amperage rating of the circuit. For example, you can use 11A maximum to stay safe on circuitry rated at 15A.
Therefore, if one GFCI outlet uses 1A, a maximum of 11 GFCI outlets can be installed on the same circuit. For such reason, experts advise using a few GFCI outlets on circuitry so that 80% of the circuit amperage rating is not exceeded.
In most cases, users install about 5-6 GFCI outlets on a circuit to keep the average amperage rating low.
What happens if you have 2 GFCI outlets on the same circuit?
Users often wonder what happens if they put 2 GFCI outlets on the same circuit. Listed below are what happens when you have 2 GFCI outlets on the same circuitry.
Two protected outlets:
Having multiple GFCI outlets means you can use more than one protected outlet. Instead of having just one GFCI protected outlet, you will have two GFCI protected outlets.
Multiple protected outlets will allow you to use your high-power consuming devices safely without the risk of any injury in case of an electrical fault.
You can connect a single GFCI to protect multiple outlets on the same circuitry. However, if the GFCI trips, all the connected outlets will stop working. Therefore, having more than one GFCI protected outlet will avoid that issue.
If one outlet fails, you can use the other GFCI outlet to power your device.
Less likely to trip:
Multiple devices on a circuit draw a lot of power. If a single GFCI protects all the outlets on the same circuitry, it may trip when the plugged-in devices pull a lot of energy. If you have multiple GFCI protected outlets, they will be less likely to trip and not cause any power disruption.
GFCI outlets are pricey. Installing multiple GFCI outlets on the same circuit can be costly. As a result, most people advise using a single GFCI to protect the entire circuitry. In that case, if the GFCI breaks, all the outlets stop working.
If the GFCI outlets are not wired correctly, they will not function as intended. So, in case of an electrical fault, it will not shut down the power coming from the outlet. Therefore, it will not protect the user from any injury. Also, the device will be unprotected from any damage.
How do I add a second GFCI outlet?
You can add a second GFCI outlet by following the steps below:
Turn off the circuit breaker:
Turn the circuit breaker off from the circuit box of your home. Then, proceed to the location you want to install the new GFCI outlet.
Inspect the GFCI wiring of the existing outlet:
Open the cover of the outlet and take out the GFCI protected outlet. Inspect the wiring on the GFCI. Ensure that there is no load connected to the GFCI and, all the wires are connected to their respective terminals.
Install the new workbox for the new outlet:
If you have drywall, you may want to use a drywall saw to cut out a place for the new outlet. Place the workbox on the wall and create an outline you want to cut. Then, using a drywall saw, cut out the portion to fit the workbox.
Install the new wires for the new electrical outlet:
Place the workbox in your desired position. Then, feed a 12-gauge wire into the existing GFCI outlet and take out the end of the wire from the workbox of the new outlet. According to code, keep about 8 inches of wire outside the workbox.
Then, at the end of the 12-gauge wire, separate the live, neutral, and ground wires. You will insert these wires in the new GFCI outlet.
Wire the GFCI outlet:
You will now have three wires; the hot, neutral, and ground wire. Start by connecting the ground wire to the green terminal on the GFCI outlet and connect the neutral to the grey terminal. Finally, secure the live or hot wire to the gold terminal of the GFCI.
Lastly, put the outlet covers back on and screw them to the wall. Do not screw it too hard or, you might break the plastic cover.
How to wire 3 GFCI outlets together?
You can wire 3 GFCI outlets together in two ways. You can either connect them in series or connect one GFCI outlet from another. In both cases, the outlets will be protected by GFCI.
If you want to connect three GFCI outlets in series, attach the hot wire to the first GFCI outlet and attach another wire to the second GFCI outlet from the neutral terminal of the first. Do this for the third GFCI outlet and connect the neutral wire to the third GFCI outlet.
In case of connecting from the load, use wires to connect the second GFCI outlet with the load of the first GFCI outlet. Do this for the third GFCI outlet and, they will work as intended.
Can you split a GFCI outlet between two circuits?
Yes, you can split a GFCI outlet between two circuits. Dividing between two circuitry allows more ports to connect to if one fails.
Although the GFCI outlet can be divided between two circuits, it is not advised. It is not advised because of the complexity of the job. Therefore, you should appoint a professional to do the task.
Additionally, splitting a GFCI outlet between two circuits prevents the risk of a short circuit. And if one of the ports does not work, you can use a different port as a backup.
Can you put a GFCI in the middle of a circuit?
Yes, you can put a GFCI in the middle of a circuit. However, the GFCI will not protect the outlets connected before the GFCI. It can only save the outlets connected after the GFCI downstream.
If you want a GFCI to protect all the outlets in a circuit, you will have to install the GFCI at the beginning of the circuitry. Connecting GFCI at the beginning will ensure all the outlets are safe.
The purpose of a GFCI is to prevent overloading a circuit. It also avoids any damage to the user and appliance. You can use multiple GFCI outlets in the same circuitry. In most cases, having more than one GFCI outlet can be advantageous over having a single GFCI protect the connected outlets.