GFCI outlet versus GFCI breaker


Old 01-18-02, 04:42 PM
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GFCI outlet versus GFCI breaker

Do you have the same ground fault protection from using a gfci breaker on the circuit instead of the gfci electrical outlet?
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Old 01-18-02, 05:18 PM
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Yep, at the outlet there is no difference provided everything is properly wired. With a breaker the entire circuit is protected vice only the outlet for one that is gfci. Depending on how they are wired, you can have non-gfci outlets that are gfci-protected if they are wired from a gfci outlet on the same circuit.
Old 01-18-02, 06:48 PM
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In general, most GFCI circuit breakers and GFCI recepticles limit a current imbalance between hot and neutral conductors to less than 10-20 milliamps (5 milliamps for most). Since circuit breaker types are more expensive, most people use the recepticle type for the first recepticle on the circuit and feed the rest of the recepticles on the circuit from the load side of the 1st recepticle.
The only real benifit of the circuit breaker type, in my opinion, is that when power is out for some recepticles (10 years from now) your first reaction is to look in the circuit breaker panel, not looking around to remember which GFCI recepticle serves the string, and where is it located.
Old 01-19-02, 06:38 AM
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Exception. You can not use a GFCI breaker to protect 2 wire outlets.
Old 01-19-02, 09:29 AM
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Jxofaltrds, there is no such exception. What in the world are you talking about????
Old 01-19-02, 09:47 AM
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Refering to 406.3(D)((3)(b) only allows GFCI type of recepticles.

"Do you have the same ground fault protection from using a gfci breaker on the circuit instead of the gfci electrical outlet?"

I do not want anyone to think you can use a GFCI breaker to protect an old 2 wire (prong) system.
Old 01-19-02, 09:55 AM
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Jxofaltrds, I read the section you cited, but draw a different conclusion. The section you reference is talking about replacing receptacles. There seems to be no prohibition of GFCI breakers on 2-wire circuits.

Look at the very next paragraph to the one you cited. It says "a nongrounding-type receptacle shall be permitted to be replaced with a grounding-type receptacle where supplied through a ground-fault circuit interruptor." Note that this does not say a GFCI receptacle.

In any event, if you don't replace the receptacles, this whole section of the NEC doesn't even apply.
Old 01-19-02, 10:52 AM
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John I also read the rule allowing either a GFI receptacle or a Gfi breaker to be allowed when replacing two prong receptacles with three prong receptacles.

However I may be reading too much in his reply but I believe that Jxofaltrds may be hitting on a related subject in his mind, that I believe we all three would agree upon.

You can not consider installing a GFI protective device on a two wire branch circuit to act as a replacement of the need for an equipment grounding conductor serving a branch circuit. I was thinking that he was referring in the latter part of his reply to a GFI being an alternative allowed by the NEC, but that it would be better if a three wire circuit replaced that two wire circuit.

In remembering both of your replies in the past I think we all agree that it would be better served if that old two wire branch circuit was replaced with a three wire branch circuit including an equipment grounding conductor in that new circuit

A GFI is an alternative option that we can use to change two prong receptacles to three prong receptacles, but safety would take a backstep to a better option of installing a new branch circuit installation including that equipment grounding conductor.

In my mind breaker of receptacle style GFI protection would make little difference is properly installed but a new three wire branch circuit replacing that two wire branch circuit would be better.

One item that we should point out though is if a GFI breaker or GFI receptacle is installed it must be at the beginning of that circuit at the panel if the existing wiring style is an octopussing out of the light fixture where power was taken first then branch from that light fixture in many different directions to several receptacles. The only first receptacle would be the new one added the the branch circuit conductor coming from the panel before it branches out in many directions.

Just adding my one and a half cents worth not quite worth two cents yet but I am trying!


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