Need GFCI Installation Help


Old 09-09-20, 05:32 PM
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Need GFCI Installation Help

Okay forum friends. Please help me before we have to file for divorce.

My husband has been working for 4 hours (not a typo) to get a GFCI outlet installed in the master bath. He has replaced these before and had no problems at all. The only reason he was changing this out is because we were updating the 30 year old outlet from almond to white.

I thought maybe the new outlet was faulty, so he tried it in the kitchen, and it didn't work there either, BUT when tried to put the old one in the kitchen back in, it won't work either.

He is having trouble getting the ground wire screw reinstalled, because for whatever reason, the screw won't go back in the hole.

There are probably a lot of things he's missing here. What can he try? Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance!
Old 09-09-20, 06:52 PM
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You cannot back the ground screw (or any of the other screws) all the way out. If you do the little threaded piece that the screw goes into flops around and it will be almost impossible to get the screw to catch the threads. (as he likely has found out)

I recommend returning it to the store as "defective" and get a new one.

The GFCI device should have a clamp to grip the wire so you don't have to wrap the wire around the screw.
CasualJoe voted this post useful.
Old 09-09-20, 07:08 PM
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Thanks Mr. Ironhand.

As far as the new one goes, he says he didn't back the screws all the way out. Is that even possible? I ask because he's an educator..... NOT an electrician.

The green light came on, but the outlet wouldn't work. Any thoughts on why that would be?

Thank you.
Old 09-10-20, 04:37 AM
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Color of light on GFCI-read the instructions as it will tell you the meaning of the green light. Light indicators vary by manufacturer.

If the instructions indicate that the green light is a good sign has he tried to reset the GFCI with the GFCI reset button?

If there is more than one set of conductors/wires coming into the box where the gFCI is he needs to make sure that the power is going to the "line" side of the GFCI (it will be marked on the back of the GFCI). If more than one set of conductors coming into the box he can connect all to the "line" side so just that receptacle is protected or land the power going back out (the non-hot pair of conductors/wires) to the "load" side to protect receptacles downline.

Also, he should not have to place the wires around the screws. Most newer GFCIs have "pressure plates" where you stick the wire behind the pressure plate and tighten the screw down on the pressure plate which sandwiches the wire between the pressure plate. This is a totally accepted method. This is not the same as "back stabbing" which is frowned upon.
Old 09-10-20, 12:04 PM
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He is having trouble getting the ground wire screw reinstalled, because for whatever reason, the screw won't go back in the hole.
Why did he take the ground wire screw out? Is this by chance a Hubbell GFCI receptacle from Lowes? I hate them, they are physically impossible to get the ground wire around the ground screw. It would be tempting to try removing the screw and I suspect this is why he removed it.
Old 09-10-20, 07:53 PM
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Thank you to everyone for the help! My husband was able to get both GFCI outlets in the house replaced today in a matter of minutes.

It's AMAZING what reading ALL of the directions can do for speeding up a project.
*Wifely sarcasm intended. Why, oh why won't some men read directions....especially when they're lovely wives have mentioned it??? Ha Ha.

CasualJoe, the outlets were from Home Depot.

My husband's explanation for what happened was....He was not identifying the wires correctly yesterday for 4 hours. In his defense, the outlet he took back didn't have a yellow band on it identifying something about the lines. The ones he got today -same brand, same model- had the yellow band, and it helped him. We're thinking yesterday's outlet must have been returned by someone at some point.

Thank you again for the advice. If only my husband had let me post this question sooner. I know none of you here would ever let ego stand in the way of getting the help you need.
Old 09-13-20, 05:27 AM
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It is common for the terminal screws of a switch or receptacle or other electrical device to be peened (e.g. hit with a ball peen hammer) or otherwise deformed at the end so they cannot be accidentally unscrewed too much and fall out and get lost. But if you forcibly unscrew it too much it can come out but the deformed end is too fat or for some other reason you cannot screw it back in.

If you can wire up the ground fault circuit interrupter without touching the load terminals yet (not removing he yellow band if any yet) it is better to test it for proper operation so far before stuffing it back into the box and before connecting anything to the load terminals.Be careful because it will flop around and you don't want metal parts to touch other things or your fingers.

If you stick the wire into a hole in back and the wire slides in and out easily and then you tighten a screw and now the wire is held firmly then you have a quality connection.

If you push the wire end in the hole and the wire locks in place all by itself but remains a little loose that you can twist or rotate it then you have a backstab connection that is not quite as reliable.

Last edited by AllanJ; 09-13-20 at 05:45 AM.
Old 09-13-20, 12:50 PM
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Gfis use a backwired connection with a clamp, not a backstab. The screw hold the clamp against the conductors.

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