help with kitchen switches

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Old 07-15-18, 09:39 AM
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help with kitchen switches

Hi, I'm replacing electrical switches in my kitchen just for appearance and have 2 questions:

1) We have a garbage disposal that works fine. When replacing the single pole switch some of the plastic on the switch is red rather than the standard white. I think this just means it is heavy duty, and I should replace with the same so the switch lasts longer, is this correct? Or does the red mean something else?

2) Maybe more importantly there is no ground on the existing switch. What appears to be the ground wire is connected to the metal receptacle box. Should I just replace as is and leave the ground connected to the receptacle box since everything works fine? Or should I remove the ground from the receptacle box and connect to the new pole switch?
 
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Old 07-15-18, 10:02 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

The red color on the switch would indicate a higher quality or heavy duty. It may be a commercial duty 20A switch. It would be printed on the switch. The ground wire must remain attached to the box. If there is enough wire.... you could attach a tail to go to the switch.
 
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Old 07-15-18, 10:25 AM
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Thanks for the quick response!

Definitely not enough ground wire so I will keep as is.

Another question - there's also a GFCI, the white & black wires seem obvious, however the ground wire was connected in two place, first to a screw with a white wire then on to the ground screw. Is that correct? Or should I connect the ground wire directly to the green ground screw? It worked as currently wired, but no guarantee it was done correctly.
 
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Old 07-15-18, 11:27 AM
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In addition, there's no power to the next outlet in line...so maybe this GFCI strange grounding sequence matters? guess I'll test it...
 
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Old 07-15-18, 11:37 AM
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Not quite following you but a ground wire should never attach to a white neutral wire.

If the GFI receptacle is wired for pass thru protection..... you would have two black wires, two white wires and possibly a ground wire. A white and black pair on LINE and the second white and black pair on LOAD.
 
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Old 07-15-18, 11:59 AM
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The attached image shows the original GFCI, with the ground wire connecting first to the white wire screw along with the white wire, then continuing to the ground screw. Why? Who knows. But the GFCI is not getting power with the ground wire directly to the ground screw, nor is the next outlet past it. Both were working before I removed them...

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Last edited by PJmax; 07-15-18 at 01:45 PM. Reason: cropped/resized pic
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Old 07-15-18, 01:48 PM
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That ground wire must be removed from the white/neutral wire.
Do you have two white wires and two black wires there ?
You need to check for 120v between the white and black wire that connect to the LINE screw terminals.
 
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Old 07-15-18, 03:13 PM
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So here's the new GFCI wiring, 2 white on left, 2 black on right, ground on bottom. Does it matter which wires are on top or bottom for GFCI? I thought I set the up the same as original, but maybe I mixed up. Bottom 2 opposite posts show power with electrical tester, top 2 do not.

And no power at all in the next outlet along the wall (just a basic outlet, not GFCI, 1 white wire on left, 1 black on right, ground wire to green screw).

Breaker is on. Other outlets in kitchen all working.

Only intentional change I made to GFCI is removing the ground that went through the bottom white post and sending directly to ground screw.
 
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Old 07-15-18, 04:03 PM
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The GFI is labeled LINE and LOAD. The power must be on the line side.
 
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Old 07-15-18, 04:10 PM
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The challenge is figuring out which lines are load and line. I believe the wires coming from the main power source are fed from the bottom of the receptacle, and should be on the bottom of the gfci...currently I have both going to the top, so I'm going to try both on the bottom and see what happens...
 
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Old 07-15-18, 04:22 PM
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So that did not work...I can either keep trying random wire combos or call a pro...darn it
 
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Old 07-15-18, 04:22 PM
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Finding line is easy with a multimeter (preferably analog). Mark the location of each wire then disconnect one cable at a time and measure between black and white. The cable that read ~120v is line.
 
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Old 07-15-18, 04:26 PM
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There is no need to wrap the wires around the screw on a gfi. The clamps are made to insert the wires straight into the device.

You must have the white from the same cable as the black on the same pair of terminals either line or load. Line is power in. Load goes to provide downstream gfi protection .
 
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Old 07-15-18, 04:28 PM
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Right now all I have is a basic circuit tester...
 
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Old 07-15-18, 04:35 PM
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That tester should be enough . Test from black to ground. One should be hot with the breaker on. The other black would be the load side.
 
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Old 07-15-18, 04:36 PM
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A multimeter is a real circuit tester and costs less than $15. Things like non contact testers and plug-ins aren't for serious testing because the are easily fooled.
 
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Old 07-15-18, 04:47 PM
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I don't have easy access to a store right now so I just tested with what I have and wire 4 lights up when tested with ground, so that makes 4 line? Does that go on top or bottom of the gfci (B or C)?

How do I find line for white, neither lights up when tested with ground?
 
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Old 07-15-18, 05:18 PM
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The labeling is on the back of the device.

2 = line in neutral/white.
4 = line in hot/black.

1 = load neutral/white.
3 = load hot/black.

This is typical wiring. The wires get put into the holes and then the screw gets tightened. No need to wrap around the screws.

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Old 07-15-18, 05:49 PM
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Wired correctly and still does not work. Original (wired incorrectly) worked. That's the story of this old s#%t house...time for an electrician to wire this correctly.

Thanks for all your help!
 
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Old 07-15-18, 05:54 PM
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Without a voltmeter it leaves a lot of guessing but since you removed that connection between ground and neutral..... it would appear you have an open neutral. Does that switch on the left work ?
 
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Old 07-15-18, 06:47 PM
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If you measure from the hot to neutral do you get a reading?
 
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Old 07-16-18, 06:58 AM
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Yes, the switch on the left in the picture works, its for a garbage disposal.

However, the outlet 2 feet to the left, then the hallway, then the garage - all are getting no power. So the non-working GFCI has killed the rest of the circuit. Maybe that's just a normal part of breaking a circuit...but all because I removed the ground from the white post?

Or maybe the GFCI was delivering power previously so it looked like it was working, but was not actually functioning properly?
 
 

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