GFCI Receptacle & Switched Light

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  #1  
Old 11-27-05, 12:03 PM
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GFCI Receptacle & Switched Light

I've followed a wiring diagrahm from an electrical book that shows how to connect the FEED to a receptacle and then to a switch and ceiling light. I'm attempting to use a GFCI receptable in place of a regular receptacle. I'm using 12/2 with ground and a 20 amp GFCI receptacle.

1) GFCI: I've connected the black feed wire to the brass screw on the LINE side. I've connected a white pigtail that connects the white feed wire and white wire from the ceiling light to the LINE side. I've pigtailed a ground wire to the ground screw and connects a pigtail ground from the light switch, a pigtail to the metal box and the ground feed wire.

2) SWITCH: I've connected the black wire from the ceiling light to one of the terminals. I've connected a short piece of black wire from the brass screw on the LOAD side of the GFCI to the other terminal on the switch.

3) CEILING LIGHT: Is original... porcelain (without pull string or receptacle). Was previously connected to switch from junction box and working. I used the same wires (12/2 WITHOUT GROUND) that was originally attached to it. I can't get the screws out of fixture to access the wires that are run through conduit in 8 inches of concrete.

I turn the power on and the GFCI receptacle seems to work as it should. I flip the switch on the light and the GFCI trips. I've double checked the wiring to ensure it's correct and that nothing is touching within the box.

QUESTIONS:

1) Since this is a "seasonal" home, should I even be using a GFCI receptacle for a sump pump (forum archives suggested not to)? If not, then can I merely replace the currect GFCI receptacle with a regular one? And then feed another box (downstream)from that regular receptacle to the GFCI receptacle (for plugging in tools, fans, etc)?

2) What's wrong with the way I've made the connections?

I've spent hours and hours researching this and thought I had it right! I've been reseaching the archives on this site for hours and hours and don't seem to come up with an answer. Maybe it's as simple as using a pigtail and feeding the switch to the LINE side of the GFCI (and I realize that light would not be protected).

Thanks a bunch!
 
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  #2  
Old 11-27-05, 12:50 PM
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1. A GFCI is not recommended for a sump pump. However, if this receptacle is a duplex receptacle then it needs to be GFCI since the unused half of the receptacle is available for use. If you use a simplex receptacle then most inspectors would allow it to be non-GFCI. Do not go wothout GFCI protection for a receptacle where you will be using tools, etc.

2. Your mistake is that you pigtailed the neutral for the light to the LINE side of the GFCI. Since the hot light wire is on the LOAD side of the GFCI, then the neutral for the light must also be on the LOAD side of the GFCI. Whether you want the light GFCI protected is up to you (I wouldn't), but you can't split it. Both the hot and neutral MUST be on the same side (LINE or LOAD) of the GFCI.
 
  #3  
Old 11-27-05, 01:51 PM
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Hey... thanks racraft!

O.K. I'm pretty sure I understand what has been said, but want to make absolutely sure. And since I haven't finished this project I'd like to have as a pro would recommend.

1) Since the sump shouldn't be plugged to a GFCI and you wouldn't protect the light and switch doesn't this make sense?
A. Remove the GFCI duplex receptacle and replace it with a simplex duplex receptacle. Leave the wiring as I originally described (which would be INCORRECT for the GFCI, but CORRECT for the simplex. I'll use that for the sump plug and the light and switch should work. Right?
B. Then, I'll extend the circuit from the simplex receptacle to another box that contains a GFCI duplex receptacle for tools, etc. Black wire from the simplex (brass screw) receptacle to the LINE side brass screw on the GFCI; white wire from the simplex (silver screw) receptacle to the LINE side silver screw on the GFCI; ground screw on the simplex to ground screw on the GFCI. Right?

2) I see where I made my mistake. Thanks for "turning the light on"! In order to correct I could simply do away with the pigtail on the white/neutral wire. Then connect the white FEED wire to the LINE side of the GFCI and the white wire from the light to the LOAD side of the GFCI. Correct? And then the light and switch would be protected. Right? (Or, I could pigtail the black FEED wire and a short piece of black wire to the switch on the LINE side... and leave the pigtailed white FEED and LIGHT wire on the LINE side and accomplish the same thing, right?)

Thanks again and I'll watch for your response. This has been driving me nuts (and my wife just can't believe I've devoted so much time to trying to understand this).
 
  #4  
Old 11-27-05, 01:58 PM
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1. Yes, except that you put both simplex and duplex together where they shouldn't be. However, a better solution would be to mount the simplex receptacle for the sump pump close to the pump, and to keep a light switch and the general purpose GFCI receptacle away from the sump pump.

2. Yes. GFCI works by constantly watching the current on the hot wire and the current on the neutral wire. If they differ then the excess current is going where it shouldn't be, and the GFCI trips. By having the hot wire for the light run through the GFCI and the neutral wire NOT run through it, you created just the type of situation that the GFCI is supposed to trip on, a current imbalance.
 
  #5  
Old 11-27-05, 02:29 PM
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Hi again!

I might have confused myself by using the "simplex" term. What do you mean when you say "simplex"? I assumed that was a regular outlet with two plug in slots.

1) I'm assuming there is no problem having the regular outlet and ceiling light/switch on the same circuit as the GFCI duplex outlet, right?

2) And I can feed the GFCI outlet from the regular outlet, right?

3) It sounds like you're saying to NOT have the GFCI duplex receptacle (for an extension cord to service various tools, a fan, etc.) in close proximity to the regular duplex receptacle (for the sump)? I'm assuming that the suggestion is to be working around water?
 
  #6  
Old 11-27-05, 02:42 PM
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Another question please?

It sounds like I should run an extension to a more convenient a safe location for the GFCI receptacle, which I will plan to do.

The existing wire from the ceiling light is already present (and I'm not sure if I can remove the ceiling fixture due to rusty screw slots)... along with the new switch and feed wire. It's in a new double box with room for the regular receptacle for the sump. Is there a problem with the sump receptacle and switch/ceiling light being in that same box? The light switch services a light on the opposite side of a cement wall (an old bomb shelter, I'm told).

And, while I'm at it -- if I can remove the old porcelain light fixture I'll run a new 12/2 with ground to it. Since that type of fixture isn't grounded (and I didn't find any that were), what do I do with the ground wire in that new cable? Or should I just run 12/2 WITHOUT ground?

Thanks again....
 
  #7  
Old 11-27-05, 03:07 PM
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A duplex receptacle is one that is capable of having two items directly plugged into it, and is the receptacle that most people are familiar with.

A simplex receptacle can only have one item plugged into it. You don;t see many of these.

1. It is not a problem to have a non-GFCI protected receptacle and a non-GFCI protected light on the same circuit as a GFCI receptacle. Whether or not you should do this is a different issue.

2. Yes, you can feed a GFCI receptacle from a anon-GFCI receptacle. Whether or not you should do this is a different issue.

3. Water has nothing to do with this. I am suggesting that the receptacle for the sum pump be close to the sum pump. This is because you certainly don't want it to be too far away, or the cord won't reach. You also don't want someone to be tempted to unplug the sump pump and use that receptacle for something else. You most certainly do NOT want to use an extension cord to make up for an improperly placed receptacle.


Your last post brings up new issues.

You cannot extend an ungrounded circuit. If you are trying to tap into a light circuit that is not grounded then stop what you are doing. This is not allowed, and it is not safe.

Run a new 20 amp circuit for your sump pump. Put nothing else on this circuit. Use a simplex 20 amp receptacle on this circuit.

Run a new circuit for your convenience receptacle. Make it a 20 amp circuit as well.

Leave your old circuits alone or completely replace the wiring if you want to.
 
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