Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
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You have bought GFCI outlets now it is time to incorporate it into your electric circuit in series. How do you go about the process? In this article, we will explain all that it takes to wire the GFCI in series. We will also discuss the electrical components that you will need as well as the safety precautions that you should take when wiring GFCI.
GFCI stands for the ground fault circuit interrupter. This is an electric protective device that behaves and works as a circuit breaker. As the name suggests, it is designed to detect ground faults and then provide necessary protection against electric shock and electrocution. It is an automatic outlet that will react fast in case an electric fault is detected.
Ground fault circuit interrupters are usually installed in sections of buildings where there is a high chance of an electric circuit coming into direct contact with water. Probably you know that water is a conductor and it poses a great risk when it comes across an electric circuit.
What does it mean to wire GFCI outlets in series?
If you know some basics of electric circuits, you know what we mean when we say a circuit is in series. There is only one path from the source, going through the loads and other electronic components and then back to the power source.
The same concept applies when a GFCI is in series. Wiring GFCI outlets in series means that al the outlets are wired sequentially. The current will flow from one GFCI outlet to another like in any other series circuit.
What if the flow of current is interrupted at one point? Let’s say one of the outlets is damaged and hence cannot allow current to pass through. The interruption will affect the flow of power through that stream.
Also, when one of the GFCI trips due to an issue in the electric current, the rest of the components in that circuit will stop working. Now think about it when you have many loads in that single circuit. You will have to endure frequent inconveniences from the GFCIs.
The good news is you can still wire GFCI outlets in series and still be able to avoid the inconveniences that come with such type of wiring.
Steps to follow when wiring GFCI in series
Despite the shortcomings, here are the key steps that you should follow when wiring a GFCI in series.
Step 1: Turn off the power supply
This is basically a standard safety measure that you should exercise when working on all types of electric circuits. You should first identify the main switch on the circuit breaker panel board and switch it off. From there, you will be safe to work on the GFCI installation
Step 2: Connect the GFCI to the circuit
Now you are ready to add the ground fault circuit breaker to the circuit. To do this identify the main wires which are the hot wire, neutral, and ground wire. This step requires that you draw references from a wiring manual so that you don’t end up mixing wires or connecting the wrong wire to the GFCI. In most installations, the black wire is the hot wire while the green wire is the ground. The white wire is likely to be the neutral wire.
So, how do I connect the wires to the GFCI? The black wire will go to a screw that is brass-colored while the neutral wire will go to the silver-colored screw. You will connect the ground wire to the green screw.
Remember that this is the first GFCI.
Step 3: Connect the load wires to the GFCI
From the power source, the next connection is to the load. Simply join the wires coming from the load to their respective terminals on the GFCI. GCI manufacturer datasheet will come in handy in making the such connection. You will use it to ensure that each wire is connected to its designated terminal on the GFCI.
Step 4: Connect the second GFCI
Remember that our goal is to connect GFCI outlets in series. In this step, we will focus on adding another GFCI to the circuit.
Connect the load wires to the load terminals to the second GFCI as we did in the previous step. Take your time to verify that the connection is done perfectly.
Step 5: Add more GFCI outlets to the circuit
How many GFCI outlets would you like to have on a circuit? Regardless of the number, you should follow the two previous steps above to connect them in series. Other than the GFCI outlet, you should also focus on the loads that you are connecting to the circuit. They should also be in series.
Step 6: Turn ON the power and test the GFCI
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Now that you are done with the wiring, it is time to test the functionality of the GFCI. Start by turning on the power supply on your main switch. You can then press the “test” button on the GFCI. If the lights in the circuit go off, it means the GFCI outlets in series are working.
Rules for wiring a GFCI
Even as you implement the steps and procedures that we have discussed, here are the key rules that you should follow when it comes to wiring GFCI.
- You should install only one GFCI per circuit. Installing more than one will trip the circuit.
- Any GFCI that you install should be properly grounded. This is a major safety tip because failure to do so will prevent the GFCI from tripping in case of a circuit overload and this will cause some serious damage on the circuit.
- Avoid using GFCIs on electric heating devices such as water heaters.
- You should be careful when it comes to choosing the wires for the GFCI. The ideal wire sizes include 12 AWG for the 20 A circuit and 14 AWG for the 15 A circuit.
- Test the GFCI after you are done with the wiring. Ensure that it is in proper working shape and condition.
I hope from this article you have learned how to connect GFCI in series. In case you need any help, consider involving experts. Also, ensure that you buy quality GFCI outlets for sale from reputable suppliers in China.
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