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Wiring a Second GFCI Outlet Downstream from an Existing GFCI Outlet

Wiring a Second GFCI Outlet Downstream from an Existing GFCI Outlet

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Old 12-26-16, 02:16 PM
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Wiring a Second GFCI Outlet Downstream from an Existing GFCI Outlet

I have an upstairs bathroom with a standard outlet that is fed from the GFCI outlet in the bathroom directly below it.

The standard upstairs outlet still has 4 wires going into it -- 2 white, 2 grey.

However, when I removed the standard outlet and put the new GFCI outlet in there, and wired it as I've wired the others (2 white lines to load, 2 grey lines to line) it will not reset.

I assume there is something different I need to do here and ignore the color of the wires and double up on either line or load side, but I don't want to blow anything.

Any advice?
 
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Old 12-26-16, 02:24 PM
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The gray wires are actually black and are the hot conductors. Connect them to the brass screws. The whites are the neutrals and get connected to the silver screws.

If you are installing another GFCI after one already installed, I would suggest connecting the wires in the existing GFCI to the LINE terminals, or pig-tailing the wires. That way you do not have a GFCI in series with another GFCI. The 2nd GFCI can be wired LINE (incoming hot and neutral) and LOAD (outgoing hot and neutral) if GFCI protection is still needed downstream on the circuit.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 02:29 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

The outlet I am installing is actually the Leviton GFNL2-W with the LED lights which was why I wanted to put in a second GFCI (I didn't realize my upstairs bathroom had a standard outlet in there when I bought this, the main reason was for the LEDs built in).

So I think what you are saying is I make the change on the DOWNSTAIRS GFCI outlet and double up the wires on that switch, with 2 lines into each LINE terminal instead of 2 in line, 2 in load, and on the UPSTAIRS switch, wire normally?

Right now I do have the 2 black going into the 2 brass, and the 2 white going into the 2 silver screws, but on both the downstairs GFCI and the upstairs (downstream) new GFCI fed from the downstairs. I may have just been thinking I need to double up to line on the wrong outlet. However, the instructions for the GFNL2-W have me worried that if I leave the load ports empty, that the outlet will not function. I'll double check though.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 02:57 PM
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It will function. It just won't protect anything downline if you don't use the LOAD terminals. Nothing wrong unless the outbound/downline wiring goes to a receptacle in the bathroom. Lighting doesn't need GFCI protection.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 03:38 PM
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It actually does go directly to a receptacle in another bathrom. But that is the receptacle that I am changing from a standard outlet to a new GFCI.

The GFCI that you're saying I should double wire on LINE (remove the 2 wires from load) will then directly feed a the new GFCI I am installing in the upstairs bathroom via LINE, not LOAD.

I think what you might be saying is, since I am not using the load, instead sending from LINE to another GFCI, it's okay and the right way to do it, rather than feeding a downsteam second GFCI from the LOAD terminals of a previous GFCI which (I guess?) doesn't work?
 
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Old 12-26-16, 03:44 PM
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In the downstairs bathroom you have the feed cable which is hot and should go to the LINE terminals. Without a GFCI in the upper bathroom the other cable should come off the LOAD terminals. BUT since you are separating the GFCI function, you can place both cables on the LINE terminals in the downstairs bathroom.

How many cables do you have in the upstairs receptacle box? One from the downstairs bath for sure which will go to the LINE terminals.

You will get nuisance trips if you were to wire the upstairs GFCI from the LOAD of the downstairs GFCI. When one trips, the other is likely to trip, too, necessitating a trip downstairs each time, anyway.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 03:53 PM
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Thanks Chandler. You are correct. The upstairs GFCI has 4 wires in the box. 2 black, 2 white. 2 of them are coming up from downstairs.

So, I'll wire the upstairs GFCI normally, and re-wire the downstairs one with all 4 wires going into the 2 LINE terminals and leave the load terminals empty since it no longer needs to feed upstairs.

I assume I've got that right.

I appreciate the advice, all!
 
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Old 12-26-16, 05:05 PM
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Where does the one extra cable in the upstairs bathroom go? To another receptacle? If so, then wire it on the LOAD side with your hot cable to the LINE side.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 05:16 PM
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Note if the same breaker serves both bathrooms there can be no lights on the circuit.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 05:22 PM
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Don't think there are any lights, just outlets, on this circuit. It's a new house.

I imagine the 2 load wires in the upstairs bathroom go to the other outlet that's in there.

Dumb question -- Why is it that the load wire downstairs going up to another GFCI doesn't work, but using the line as the traveler wire to the upstairs GFCI works? But, when there is just a regular outlet up there, the load from the downstairs GFCI works just fine?
 
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Old 12-26-16, 05:29 PM
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Not a dumb question.... just not worded properly as I can't figure out what you are asking.

You can't have one GFI receptacle feeding another GFI receptacle. Is that your question ?
 
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Old 12-26-16, 05:35 PM
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Right, I was just curious on why this solution works.

Original configuration - GFI Receptacle in bathroom feeding upstairs bathroom non GFI receptacle.

I am replacing the standard receptacle upstairs with a GFI receptacle. And it is not working as wired. So I think what I was told to do in this thread (change the load wires in the downstairs receptacle to the LINE ports) effectively terminates that GFI's association and allows me to start fresh with the GFI above that I am putting in. So they work independently of one another.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 05:50 PM
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Alright, so I moved all 4 wires in the downstairs GFI switch to the line (blacks under copper, whites under silver), and it's working just fine that way in that location (same as it worked when 2 wires were connected to load).

However, nothing has changed for the upstairs GFI. I have 1 of each white in load and line, and 1 of each black in load and line, and the switch will not function. The instructions indicate that this is when you have load and line wires reversed but I know they are correct (unless making all 4 of the feed wires "line" has changed the rules somehow).

Anything else I can try here? The upstairs bathroom does have another outlet that I need to make sure gets fed by this GFI. Is it possible that the other outlet (standard) is the first one fed from the downstairs GFI and that will be the location I will need to put the new GFI in now instead? Is the order important?

I guess it's also possible that this GFI is faulty, though I'd sure rather not remove one of the working ones I installed elsewhere just to try it (this is the last one of course).
 
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Old 12-26-16, 05:54 PM
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Ok... you now have line and load combined and connected to LINE on the downstairs GFI receptacle which means you're are sending unprotected power upstairs. This is what you want.

Have you confirmed 120vac on the LINE side of the upstairs GFI receptacle ?
Typically..... if the line was not present.... that new GFI receptacle would NOT set.
Is the new GFI receptacle setting ?

If it does.... then check the load side for outgoing 120v power.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 06:02 PM
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Thanks for sticking with me. It's definitely not setting.

You may be onto something here. Only 1 of the 4 wires in the box is showing power, it is one of the 2 black wires, but that happens to be plugged into the "load" port instead of the "line" port.

Is it possible I got the black wires reversed and put the black line wire into the load port by mistake?
 
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Old 12-26-16, 06:05 PM
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You probably have the hot cable connected incorrectly to the LOAD terminals. Move them to LINE. Make sure you have the neutral to the associated hot wire on LINE as well.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 06:06 PM
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Is it possible I got the black wires reversed and put the black line wire into the load port by mistake?
Sure sounds like it. Make sure you identify the hot wire AND it's proper neutral.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 06:22 PM
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Turns out I'm just an idiot who got his wire pairs crossed.

Thanks all. I'm glad I posted still, as I think it may have let me wire this GFCI in series anyway, but it sounds like terminating the feeding GFI with the load ports empty down below was the right way to do it, to isolate this upstairs unit to work on its own.

I appreciate it everyone, happy holidays to you.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 07:04 PM
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Only 1 of the 4 wires in the box is showing power
If you mean you are using a non contact tester give it to your kid to play with and get an analog (not digital) multimeter. A non contact tester is useless for detecting voltage because almost anything can cause a false positive.
 
 

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