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  1. #1
    Drew Thacik's Avatar
    Drew Thacik Guest

    Default GFCI Installations

    I am working to get my house (built 1980) on the market and I wanted install GFCIs in the bathrooms, garage, wet bar, and outdoors. Below is a list of what I have done, and I would appreciate any comments on any issues that could arise in a home inspection report from these setups.

    1. Three 15A outlets in the kitchen were replaced with one 20A TR GFCI and two 20A TR outlets, which are protected by the GFCI. Entire line is on a 20A breaker.

    2. One 15A outlet in the kitchen was replaced with a 20A TR GFCI. This GFCI also protects two 15A outlets in the dining room that are downstream of the GFCI. Entire line is on a 20A breaker.

    3. Circuit goes from the breakfast nook light/fan --> bathroom light --> 15A bathroom outlet --> kitchen light/fan --> 15A wet bar outlet/light. I replaced the 15A bathroom outlet with a 15A TR GFCI that will protect the items downstream. Is there any issues with having the kitchen light turn off if the GFCI trips? I want the wet bar protected, but do I need two GFCIs to accomplish this or is the setup that I have now sufficient? Entire line is on a 15A breaker.

    4. Circuit goes from the refridgerator --> 15A kitchen outlet --> 15A interior stairway outlet --> 15A exterior outlet. I replaced the 15A kitchen outlet with a 20A TR GFCI that will protect the items downstream and replaced the 15A exterior outlet with a 20A outlet. I want the kitchen and the exterior outlets to be protected. Any issues with this setup? Entire line is on a 20A breaker.

    5. Circuit goes from 15A bathroom outlet --> bathroom light --> 15A bathroom outlet --> bedroom light. I replaced the first 15A bathroom outlet with a 15A TR GFCI that will protect the items downstream. I want both outlets protected but are there any issues with the lights turning off if the GFCI trips? Entire line is on a 15A breaker.

    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld

  2. #2
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    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    It does not sound like your house even met the code when it was built.

    You wasted money on the 20 amp devices. You could have used 15 amp devices.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  3. #3
    Drew Thacik's Avatar
    Drew Thacik Guest

    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    I found out after the fact that 20A were not needed. I originally thought that if there was a 20A breaker then the circuit should have 20A outlets. Are there any issues with having the 20A outlets where I placed them?

    Also, what specifically was not to code when the house was built? What should I expect to see in the inspection report regarding these issues?

    I ultimately just wanted to install the GFCIs in the areas that I knew required it. I was not planning on doing any rewiring or run new wire even though it should (i.e. bathrooms on their own circuit). I just want to know what to expect when the house is inspected and if there were any issues with the changes that I made. Any information that you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.


  4. #4

    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Thacik View Post
    I found out after the fact that 20A were not needed. I originally thought that if there was a 20A breaker then the circuit should have 20A outlets. Are there any issues with having the 20A outlets where I placed them?

    Also, what specifically was not to code when the house was built? What should I expect to see in the inspection report regarding these issues?

    I ultimately just wanted to install the GFCIs in the areas that I knew required it. I was not planning on doing any rewiring or run new wire even though it should (i.e. bathrooms on their own circuit). I just want to know what to expect when the house is inspected and if there were any issues with the changes that I made. Any information that you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
    If the original circuit was a 20 amp circuit then the 20 amp devices make sense but if the original circuit was 15 then it should all be 15. Start with the wire, it is the one component you cannot change if it is rated for 20 amp then everything else should also be the same. If it is rated for 15 amp the same logic follows...

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Zehnder View Post
    If the original circuit was a 20 amp circuit then the 20 amp devices make sense but if the original circuit was 15 then it should all be 15. Start with the wire, it is the one component you cannot change if it is rated for 20 amp then everything else should also be the same. If it is rated for 15 amp the same logic follows...
    Hire a licensed electrician instead of trying to guess what needs to be done. They will know what needs to be done and is expected in your area.

    Every inspector will look at the home from their own point of view and offer their opinion. Hopefully they will all be similar but we all call on our own specific knowledge base and tend to report the same. For me, moisture intrusion into the structures envelope is my speciality.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6

    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    Like Scott, my advice is to bring in a licensed electrician. For me, electrical is the trade a DIY'er does not need to fool with. Three basic things can happen when you work on a homes electric system. One, you get it right. Two, you do it wrong and a fire could result from it. Three, you do it wrong and someone can get electrocuted. Two out of three are not good results so for me, this is one of those times it is better to take the safer route, ie. hire a licensed electrician, rather than be sorry later on.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Zehnder View Post
    If the original circuit was a 20 amp circuit then the 20 amp devices make sense but if the original circuit was 15 then it should all be 15. Start with the wire, it is the one component you cannot change if it is rated for 20 amp then everything else should also be the same. If it is rated for 15 amp the same logic follows...
    The 20 amp devices didn't even make sense on a 20 amp circuit unless there is only one physical place to insert a plug on the circuit. Also when have you seen anything with a 20 amp cord cap in a house?

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    What size are the conductors again? If you can't answer right away, get an electrician in before you list your place.

    If you are doing a major kitchen remodel, adding circuits, you do so need to bring it up to the existing code and in my area, have it inspected under a permit.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  9. #9
    Drew Thacik's Avatar
    Drew Thacik Guest

    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    The wires for items 1, 2, and 4 are 12-2 (which from my understanding is acceptable for 20A outlets). The wires for items 3 and 5 are 14-2 (which is not acceptable for 20A outlets).

    At this point I will contact an electrician. I thank you all for your concern and using your knowledge to help me out. I thought I would be able to replace the outlets to upgrade them to GFCI protected, but I ran into some funny wiring trains that I described in my original post. Rewiring, running new wires, and adding breakers and lines to an electrical panel are all above my experience level and would require me to contact a professional. I thought this would be a simple project to add the GFCIs and now that it appears to be more than that, I will contact an electrician.

    This is not a remodel, just changing out outlets.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    The 20 amp devices didn't even make sense on a 20 amp circuit unless there is only one physical place to insert a plug on the circuit.
    I disagree. A 20 amp receptacle makes perfect sense on a 20 amp circuit. In fact, a 20 amp makes sense even on a 15 amp circuit. I suspect the original poster is referring to receptacles which are 15 amp/20 amp rated with the configuration which will accept a 15 amp or a 20 amp plug and not just a 20 amp plug, I suspect that you are also referring to those dual rated receptacles and not single rated 20 amp receptacles - I know those dual rated receptacles are the ones I am referring to.

    Also when have you seen anything with a 20 amp cord cap in a house?
    Why does a cord require a 20 amp plug to install a 15 amp/20 amp dual rated receptacle?

    The only code limitation is that the receptacle be rated the same as the circuit *or have a higher rating than the circuit*.

    Are you allowed to put a 30 amp receptacle on a 50 amp circuit? NO.

    Are you allowed to put a 50 amp receptacle on a 30 amp circuit? YES.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    My point was that the T-slots are not needed since there is very little chance that anything will have a 20 amp cordcap.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    My point was that the T-slots are not needed since there is very little chance that anything will have a 20 amp cordcap.
    I agree that they are not going to be needed as there is very little chance that an appliance would require a 20 amp circuit and would have a 20 amp cordcap.

    I was just disagreeing that it made no sense to install 20 amp receptacles because it makes perfect sense to me ... which could be because I installed 20 amp receptacles in our kitchen, then again, I also install a GFCI receptacle at each receptacle location inside and outside the house which required GFCI protection ... no matter how close together the receptacles were.

    Over kill? Nope, just "convenience" is all, so why not install 20 amp receptacles (which were a better grade than the cheaper 'contractors special' 15 amp receptacles.

    By the way, remember in the past when I posted about replacing most of the receptacles in our 1975 house when we bought it in 2006, but there were a few I had not gotten to yet? We has a laminate floor installed this week (I wanted wood, my wife wanted laminate, it is obvious who got their way ) and with the furniture moved out of the room I had access to a couple of the old receptacles I had not replaced before. Same problem as before with the old receptacles: they are back-stab only, no screw terminals, and when I went to pull them from the wall the receptacles came ... but the wires did not - the wires were that loose in the back-stab terminals.

    That is why I try not to go with 'cheap stuff'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    The internals are the same except for the slot shape between the 15 and 20 amp devices. This is why the 15 is rated for 20 amp feedthrough.

    You could have just moved up in quality from the residential grade to a commercial grade if you wanted a better quality.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: GFCI Installations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    You could have just moved up in quality from the residential grade to a commercial grade if you wanted a better quality.
    Except that I was at a Big Box store and I had a limited selection to choose from at the time.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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