First outlet is a stream

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Old 03-06-08, 07:08 AM
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First outlet is a stream

How do I find out which is the first outlet when Installing a GFI breaker in an old house?
 
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Old 03-06-08, 08:06 AM
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GFI breakers are installed in the panel at the start of the circuit. All receptacles are downstream from this point.

If you are asking about GFI receptacles you will need to find out all that is on the circuit. Try to think which receptacle would be the closest to the panel. You would need to open up splices or remove devices to check to see if any of the circuit remains energized with the splices open.

Do you have any experience troubleshooting? Do you have any test equipment?
 
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Old 03-06-08, 08:30 AM
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I think GFI breakers are just much easier for situations where you want a lot of outlets protected. It may be a little more expensive, but it saves the time searching for the first outlet on a circuit. It just easier to swap breakers. Does anyone ever think that in the future code will require every breaker to be a GFI breaker? I know how the NEC can crack down.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 08:32 AM
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Educated guess and check. Start with the recetpacle closest to the panel as that is the logical place to start. Disconnect the wires, flip the circuit back on and see if everything else on the circuit is dead.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 08:49 AM
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use a space heater

first; id all the recepts on the circuit. second; get a digital voltmeter. third; remove all loads from that circuit. four; Plug in the heater on the various recepts until all the measured voltages on ALL the recepts in that circuit are the same. That's the first recept.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 11:16 AM
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I dont have any experience troubleshooting or any test equipment. All I have is this device that tells me if an outlet is hot.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 11:34 AM
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First of all do you have any GFI installed now? Second where is the GFI going to be installed? If it is on the counter in the kitchen then it is a small appliance GFI. In the bath it will be part of the bath circuit etc. In an old house it will be a guess. You need to isolate the circuit first, then like others have said start with the one closet to the panel. You will also have to ask what the size of the circuit 15 or 20 amp. Keep us posted.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by l10-11 View Post
First of all do you have any GFI installed now? Second where is the GFI going to be installed? If it is on the counter in the kitchen then it is a small appliance GFI. In the bath it will be part of the bath circuit etc. In an old house it will be a guess. You need to isolate the circuit first, then like others have said start with the one closet to the panel. You will also have to ask what the size of the circuit 15 or 20 amp. Keep us posted.
Why does it matter where the GFI receptacle is installed? The installation process is the same.

Even the 15 amp GFI receptacles are rated for 20 amp feedthrough.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 01:26 PM
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It would matter on a GFI circuit if you installed a GFI let's say half way through the circuit the only circuits that would be protected would those that are on the load side of the GFI all others would be coming in from the line side and would not be protected. If I read you correctly you had mentioned in your other reply about the GFI in the panel those are ARC Faults CB and they are used now in the bedrooms and smoke det.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 02:30 PM
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The breakers I talked about in the panel were GFI, not AFCI.

While both look and install similarly they serve different functions.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 04:48 PM
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Remove a receptacle from the circuit. Everything that doesn't work with it removed are downstream.
Educated guess would be the one you want is the one closest to the panel.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 05:29 PM
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Since you mention an old house and I think we're assuming you mean GFCI receptacles, I wonder if you are trying to provide GFCI protection in order to plug 3-prong cords into a 2-wire system.

This is fine, and completely allowable, since GFCI on the first receptacle allows you to replace those downstream as well, without having them be GFCI. You do need the stickers, of course. However, it IS important that you make SURE you've really got the first receptacle - sometimes you can think you have it, but you don't. Don't forget that outlet behind the stack of boxes in the mud room, for example!

I don't mean to be obtuse or state the obvious, but I feel this bears repeating because in older houses, "downstream" can become a very illogical thing!
 
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Old 03-06-08, 06:27 PM
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In the words of my "mentor" racraft, you should label all receptacles. While adding GFIs breakers may be easy, itmight not be the best thing down the road.

After you determine which is the first outlet, you should identify this outlet as the first and then determine 2nd, 3rd etc. This should be easy enough to do and it will come in handy later on.
 
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