new GFI install


Old 01-17-05, 01:32 PM
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Question new GFI install

I am about to install a number of outlets in the basement and wanted to use a GFI outlet to provide protection on all the outlets. I have a couple of concerns.

First, I am planning on running my woodworking tools from these outlets - is the GFI protection going to be more of an irritant due to the running of motors than the protection provides?

Secondly, is there anything special in wiring it up? I have read that the outlet will protect 'downstream' outlets, but I'm not sure what that means. How do you identify upstream or downstream outlets from the wiring? I am planning on wiring the GFI outlet direct from the breaker and having two runs from there (one for the right-side, and one for the left-side) for the remaining outlets.

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Old 01-17-05, 01:47 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 83
I wouldn't be concerned with nuisance tripping. I wired my shop with 20A GFCI's and never had a problem.

The outlet you purchase will be clearly marked with line in and out (hot and neutral). Usually a sticker over the load side of the outlet warning consumer to wire correctly.

I would go with a 20A circuit, #12 AWG conductors, 20A GFCI and duplex receptacles on the load side.

Be sure to use a deep box for the GFCI.

Good luck!
Old 01-17-05, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 973
To place extra emphasis on part of what up-n-running said:

Be sure to use a deep box for the GFCI.

That is VERY important, especially since you have three Romex cables into this box...A standard box is tight with just two Romex cables and a GFCI outlet. Maybe one of those double boxes with a mud ring would be in order here to give you plenty of room.

As far as upstream vs. downstream...If the GFCI is the first thing the circuit goes to from the breaker box, everything else is downstream.

Connect the Romex from the breaker to the LINE side of the GFCI. As far as the two feeders to the downstream outlets, you'll need to wirenut the two blacks with a 6" or longer pigtail, same with white, and connect those pigtails to the LOAD side of the GFCI (under the WARNING sticker). All grounds should be wirenutted together with a pigtail to the green screw on the GFCI. If you use a metal box, it should also be bonded to the ground wires.

You should probably consider also whether one circuit is enough, or whether you'd be better off with two. Will you occasionally have more than one power tool going at the same time? Will you have a space heater plugged in while using any power tools?
Old 01-17-05, 03:58 PM
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Thanks for the advice and tips.

I've already wired (and dry-walled) the basement, and I can appreciate having extra deep boxes (especially since I don't because I only used 2x3's for the studding - tried to save some money - didn't consider the GFCI outlet space) was a very tight fit :-(

I am using 20 amp service with 12 gauge wire (that GFCI box was a very tight fit)

I was concerned about the motors tripping the GFCI all the time from a previous post I had read earlier.

thanks again,
Old 01-18-05, 04:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
It is possible for a motor to trip a GFCI with 'nothing' wrong...but more often than not, if a motorized tool trips a GFCI it is because there is real current leakage going on. This leakage may be so minor that it wouldn't get noticed without the GFCI, but it is really there, and could present a shock hazard if, for example, your equipment ground failed.

IMHO if a tool trips a GFCI, but seems to work 'just fine' on a regular receptacle, then you should consider the very real possiblity that the insulation on the tool is starting to fail.

Finally, an 'overfilled' box is a code violation. I'd strongly suggest that you consider chirkware's suggestion of using a double wide box for the GFCI.

Old 01-18-05, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: North Virginia
Posts: 192
You also might want to check with you local inspections department. Some areas require that basements have GFCI protection on all outlets.
Old 01-18-05, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Although you do hear about motors tripping GFCI, it's mostly very old refrigerators or freezers and/or very old GFCIs. I've used just about every tool you can think of on GFCI receptacles and never had one trip.

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