GFI outlet mounted at main breaker?


Old 10-08-01, 03:26 AM
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I live in Pennsylvania and am in the process of putting a new service entrance in. A friend of mine said that I need a GFI outlet near the main service panel. If I need one where does it need to be, how far from the panel? I want to get this done prior to calling the inspector and I couldn't find the rule in the books that I have. Also if anyone has a good source for directional halogen recessed lights, I would like to know.
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Old 10-08-01, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
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Can't help you with halogen lighting, but I can with service entrance issues. I replaced mine a year and a half ago.

The GFCI receptacle in the basement is a handy little trick for serving a whole existing 2-wire circuit with ground fault protection. It's often used in older homes that have knob & tube circuits, or circuits with the old black cloth-covered pre-historic 2-wire romex that contained no equipment grounding wire.

This approach relates to NEC Article 210.7(d), which deals with replacing non-grounding type receptacles.

It is permitted to replace 2-prong receptacles with 3-prong receptacles only if the new ones are GFCI protected, and each bears the label "No Equipment Ground". If you are familiar with the feed-through capabilities of a GFCI receptacle you know that feeding additional downstream receptacles through a GFCI gives them ground fault protection also. By installing one at the panel, you don't have to try to figure out which way the wires in your walls go between one recep and another. Pull the hot and neutral of the circuit you want to GFCI protectout of the panel. Mount a single-gang handy box or equivalent on the same backplane as your panel, near enough for the existing wires to reach, and connect these wires to the LOAD side terminals on the GFCI recep. Now power the LINE side of the recep with new wire from the panel. If you use a non-metalic box you do not need a ground conductor but may provide one if desired. If the box is metallic bring a ground and pigtail to ground the box and the recep. If you have Knob & Tube your wires are #14 AWG and you will need a 15 amp breaker MAX. If you're not sure what gauge wire you have, still go with 15 amps to be safe. Wire smaller than #14 will not be present on your 120 volt circuits. If you can be certain on any circuit that #12 was used exclusively on that circuit a 20 amp breaker is permitted.

If you have questions or concerns about other aspects of your service entrrance work, or are unclear about what I described above, just post a reply or, if you prefer, you may e-mail me directly. Facts about the Code as it relates to service entrance cable, ground rods & conductors, proximity of main disconnecting means to the meter, etc., of the impending inspection we can help.

Old 10-08-01, 08:46 AM
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Location: Williamsport and Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
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There should be a GFCI protected receptacle next to the panel with its own 20A circuit. This is not a Code requirement, just common sense for a good instalation.

The 2002 Code (not in effect until Jan. 1 ) will have some new requirements for locations of receptacles, and GFCI protection. Each unfinished area in a building must have a GFCI protected receptacle.


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