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W0rter 01-10-2013 12:56 PM

GFCI Breaker
Hello to the Board!
I'm building a home brewing control panel. Working with liquids and electricity can be deadly so I need a couple questions answered so I don't go poof.
I'll start with where the power comes from. My Basement Square D QO Panel has a DP 40a breaker supplying power to a Homeline sub-panel in my garage. It's pretty much a full blown wood working shop that sports the following circuits.
1 15a SP (Original Wiring when House was wired in the 70's
1 20a SP (Sub Panel) Not currently being used
2 20a SP (Sub-Panel) HOMT2020 Tandem 20a SP
1 15a DP (Sub-Panel) HOM215
1 20a DP (Sub-Panel) HOM220
Sub-Panel has 6 Std SP spaces or 12 spaces using 6 Tandem or 3 Quad circuit breakers.
Now the question. If I changed out the basement QO panel 40a breaker for a 40a GFCI breaker QO240GFI and used this to supply power to my Sub-Panel in the garage, would my GFCI concerns be satisfied for my home brew control panel? Would this in effect make every breaker in my Sub-Panel a GFCI Breaker? Or is there concerns due to second level power requirements? meaning GFCI breaker in a different panel than the sub panel breakers.

joecaption 01-10-2013 01:06 PM

All garge outlets are suppost to be GFI protected. One GFI outlet will protect anything wired after that and only cost about $15.00 or less.
A GFI breaker would cost about 4 or 5 times that.

W0rter 01-10-2013 01:33 PM

Thanks Joe Caption. My problem is the Home Brew Control Panel is a 240v 20a. I've yet to find a 240v GFCI Outlet in any amperage. so it needs to come from the breaker. So my question is again if I replace the QO240 breaker in the basement panel with a GFCI breaker will that satisfy the GFCI requirements in my Sub-panel? Again the 40a breaker in the QO panel (Basement) supplies 100% of the power to the sub panel. Will this provide GFCI protection to every circuit breaker in the sub panel?

mpoulton 01-10-2013 01:53 PM

Yes, that would work. But I wouldn't recommend it. GFCI's are very sensitive, and if the cumulative ground leakage of everything connected to the subpanel reaches 5mA, it will trip. It would be better to put a GFCI breaker in the subpanel to supply only the brewing equipment. That way the amount of equipment connected to the GFCI is lower, and the breaker is right there so it's convenient to reset if it trips.

As Joe said, all receptacles in a garage need to be GFCI protected. If the existing circuits are not, they should be replaced with GFCI receptacles. Concrete is very conductive, so shop equipment on a concrete floor is a much greater shock hazard than if it were elsewhere.

W0rter 01-10-2013 04:17 PM

Thanks mpoulton very good points. I see my path.

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