New GFCI with extra red wire

Old 05-24-02, 02:27 PM
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Question New GFCI with extra red wire

I have come across a situation that is causing me some trouble in trying to resolve.

In replacing my old outlets around my house I came across one in the kitchen that had 3 wires (black, white and red) attached. I tried to replace this outlet with a new one attaching the wires the same way, black to brass, white to silver and red to brass. Once I flipped the power I blew the breaker. I have now realized that I had forgotten to snap the jumper and this would have probably solved my problem.

The house was probably wired sometime in the 50's or 60's and I am a little confused on what the red wire might be for. One breaker controls this outlet as well as only one other in the kitchen.

While questioning a friend about my problem he advised that it may be a good idea to install a GFCI outlet because of the location of the outlet to the kitchen sink. I have purchased a GFCI outlet but have noticed it doesn't have a jumper to snap off.

I am predicting that if I hook up the new GFCI in the same manner as the old duplex outlet I will blow the breaker once again.

1. Am I on the right track?

2. Is there a way of dealing with this extra red wire properly?

3. What is the correct way to hook up this new GFCI outlet with this 3 wire configuration?

Thanks everyone for any guidance that you can provide.
Old 05-24-02, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
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Are you in Canada?

Canada requires split wiring for kitchen receptacles, but does not require GFCI for those receptacles. This is likely a multiwire circuit. The black and red supply independent hots. If you break out the brass tab between the two brass screws, you'll be fine.

It is difficult to supply GFCI protection on a multiwire circuit such as you have (which is the reason Canada does not require it). I suggest you give up on GFCI protection. You would will likely violate the CEC to get it, since the CEC requires kitchen receptacles to be split wired. But if you really want it, you will need a 15-amp double pole 120/240 GFCI breaker. Canada uses 15-amp circuits in the kitchen, whereas the U.S. requires 20-amp circuits.

If you're not in Canada, post back.
Old 05-24-02, 03:54 PM
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Thanks for the advice. Yes I do live in Canada. I am more than willing to stick with with a regular outlet but I was only concerned about safety with it being so close to the sink.

It's interesting that Canada would not require GFCI outlets on kitchen countertops as I believe the US does (from reading other posts in this forum).

Thanks again I will stay with the regular outlet and make sure nothing gets dropped in the sink by accident.

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