2 pole circuit GFCI question

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  #1  
Old 11-28-05, 02:37 PM
the_fiddler
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2 pole circuit GFCI question

Hi again, have been spending some time on this site lately and the variety of topics and in depth answers are great. GFCI q's seem to be popular it seems that to be nice and safe and code happy you should have any outlet next to a sink (ie. bathroom or kitchen) protected with a GFCI.

I would like to change the outlet beside my ds sink to a GFCI since it is only a regular outlet. It is the only other plug on a circuit dedicated to the ds fridge and is downstream of the fridge. The breaker is a 2p 15A, 14/3 wire. This plug has 14/3 coming into it (no wire going out) and both the black and red hot wires are connected to the outlet, one on the top, one on the bottom. Neutral and Ground are connected as per normal. The tab IS broken between the two hots, and IS NOT broken on the neutral side so I think that means I have 120v top and bottom but on different hots/different sides of the 2p breaker.

Now that I want to replace with a GFCI what do I do with the second hot? Do I just snip it off, wrap with e-tape and cap it? I should be able to just attach the black, white, and ground wires as per normal and cap off the second hot right? I also don't know if it is ok to have any other plugs on a circuit with your fridge, but with the 2p multiwire it seems like it would be ok.

Thanks for any help,

F
 
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  #2  
Old 11-28-05, 02:49 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
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The details of your post suggest that you may be in Canada. Are you? I suggest you visit your profile and fill in the location field. It will improve the advice you get.

To put a GFCI receptacle here, you need to use either the black or red, but not both. An analysis of what you plug in where, how much power it provides, and whether it is powered from the black or the red might suggest whether the black or red would be better for your GFCI. In other words, use the lesser-loaded one.

Whichever wire you don't use should be capped off with a wire nut.

Another option, which will protect the entire circuit, is to buy a double-pole GFCI breaker. But those are pretty expensive, hard to find, and you probably don't want your refrigerator on GFCI anyway. So that might not be a great plan.
 
  #3  
Old 11-28-05, 09:37 PM
the_fiddler
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Yes, I live in Canada. How did you know that?

As for the GFCI, I discovered that the fridge outlet is only connected to the red hot wire, the black wire has been wire nutted together in that box and continued to the plug by the sink. At this outlet, I simply put the black on the hot side of the GFCI, the white on the neutral, hooked up the ground and all went well. The red wire leading from the fridge to the box with the GFCI has been capped at both ends as it has no real purpose. So I now have it that the red wire alone runs the fridge and the black wire alone services the plug by the sink. Both share the neutral, much like a circuit I asked a question about earlier for putting a double gang outlet box on a spare 14/3 circuit to another spot in my basement.

A bit disturbing was the way it had been connected previously. The original wire up had the red and black from the 14/3 leading from the fridge box to the sink plug box connected together and both joined to the Black only coming into the fridge box. The red coming in was as I mentioned connected to the fridge outlet hot side. At the sink end, the black and red were split up and connected individually, one to the top plug, one to the bottom, and the tab broken between them. The neutral tab had not been broken and pigtailed, but had been left connected to a single screw contact.

This went so well I am now going to tackle my upstairs kitchen. Unfortunately I am now dealing with 50 year old wiring and all the upstairs circuits have no ground wire so I will likely have a question about GFCI's in this situaltion, although there have been some posts about it before I know.

Thanks for the help,

F
 
  #4  
Old 11-28-05, 10:07 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Your kitchen is wired in a way common for Canada, but very uncommon (and illegal) for the U.S. Canada has typically used 15-amp non-GFCI multiwire circuits for a kitchen, but the U.S. uses GFCI-protected 20-amp circuits.

There's nothing wrong with the way it was wired previously, but it is a bit unusual. I can only assume that somebody wanted to put both sides of that receptacle on the same hot wire, probably because it was blowing the breaker with too much on it when it was split wired.
 
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