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Is GFI Outlet better than regular circuit for new outlet box area?

Is GFI Outlet better than regular circuit for new outlet box area?

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Old 06-18-18, 06:37 PM
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Is GFI Outlet better than regular circuit for new outlet box area?

I know this is a bit of a random question. But it really is a random scenario.

I'm adding a couple outlets to an extra space I added for a man-cave. It really won't pull much amperage other than a TV and gaming system and maybe a light/space heater/clock, etc. but it's a brand new area to a circuit that already serves a couple bedrooms that don't get much action (clocks, bedside lights, overhead lights, etc.) but they might have a vacuum plugged into it once a month when the housekeeper comes to clean the house. So if I create a new outlet box for that new room that might have the gaming system and TV, etc. is there any value in making it a GFI outlet to trip the 15 amp circuit if it's drawing too much from a short-term use of a vacuum?

IE - I can't think of any scenario where it would ever happen, but if three people are using hair dryers, vacuums and a high-end computer system all at the same time, is there value in putting in a GFI outlet? or is it all so immaterial that it doesn't matter and will flip the 15 amp circuit at the breaker box if it mattered? Just trying to figure out when a GFI outlet really matters compared to the breaker box for a 15 amp circuit with lots flowing through it.
 
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Old 06-18-18, 07:04 PM
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An overload will not trip a GFCI. A GFCI trips because of an imbalance between hot and neutral. A new 20 amp circuit would be better. A heater really taxes a circuit you should have at least a 15 amp just for it. Or run a 20 amp multiwire circuit. That is two hots sharing a neutral. That will be a bit of overkill but with the heater might be needed and won't cost much more.
 
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Old 06-18-18, 09:31 PM
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Thanks Ray.

And it would just be a plug-in space heater while in the room in an old long out-of-code house. So not really a code thing or something anyone would ever dream of running a new line for. Just wondering if we have too much running off that one circuit if it will just trip the circuit at the breaker, or if putting in a GFI would be a good flag and save a trip down to the basement. Sounds like GFI doesn't really matter on load and we can just expect too many people doing too many things at once on one circuit will trip the breaker and that is that. Sort-of what I expected, but figured I'd ask before I go buy a bunch of outlets for the new room. Thanks.
 
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Old 06-19-18, 04:58 AM
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it would just be a plug-in space heater while in the room
Most are 1500 watts in high . That is 12.5 amps so on a 15 amp circuit that leaves only 2.5 amps for everything else. Sure they usually have a low setting of about 750 watts but no guarantee it won't be set to high.
 
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Old 06-19-18, 05:06 AM
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jeffsinpdx as ray2047 already stated a GFCI measures the current going into the hot and compares it to the current going back out on the neutral - an imbalance.

You need to separate your thought pattern in the way of thinking that a circuit breaker and GFCI work the same way.

If you overload the circuit because you have the vacuum going and turn on the space heater you more than likely will trip the breaker - but not cause the GFCI to trip as what you are doing is drawing too much current on the circuit itself and the way a GFCI works is it senses current leakage not an overload on the circuit it is connected to.

Although a circuit breaker and GFCI are in the "fruit" category as they can protect a circuit (in their own ways) you are still trying to compare "apples" circuit breaker to "oranges" GFCI.

The only way to increase the capacity of the circuit is to rewire with 12 gauge and use a 20amp breaker. Do not replace the 15amp breaker is a 20amp breaker using the same wiring (gauge).

Alternative would be also to run a separate circuit to your "man cave" so you are independent of the rest of the circuit in the house.

With you present setup adding a new outlet (receptacle) for your man cave you will provide no "value" by making that receptacle a GFCI instead of a regular receptacle (outlet).

I suggest you read a bit on the internet how a GFCI functions and what the purpose of a GFCI receptacle/circuit breaker is and then compare the differences - you will then see that using a GFCI specifically for your intentions will provide no extra "value".

(P.S. If your "man cave" space happens to be in your basement in an unfinished portion or in a garage where it may be damp then yes, using a GFCI is advisable and needed by code - but again for totally different reasons )
 
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Old 06-19-18, 09:35 AM
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Space heaters may seem like a small device, but in an older house with 15A circuits they use 80-90% capacity of the circuit just by itself. Same story for hair dryers and some kitchen appliances.
 
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Old 06-21-18, 09:25 PM
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Thanks for all of the good feedback on GFI (Imbalance) vs. Circuit.

So I went with a really low amperage heater. So my heater is rated at a 2.5 amp draw and 44-54 ohms. So given that, would there be any issues adding this to a circuit that currently will serve two overhead lights, two bathroom lights, outlets in two bedrooms that include alarm clocks and night lights, a bathroom fan and maybe an occassional item plugged into the outlet (like a $10 room fan, etc.)? Any feedback? Lots of little stuff that will barely get turned on together on a 15A circuit getting a 2.5A circuit added, I'm guessing I'll be find. Correct?

Thanks!
 
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