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Old 04-05-2011, 12:30 PM   #1
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Replacing receptacle with GFCI wiring problem


I'm trying to replace (2) standard receptable with (2) GFCI receptable in a kitchen near the sink. The wiring is as follows: (2) 20A circuits, wired with 12 awg 3-wire (red, black, white) alternating between receptacle location.

Receptacle 1 (right of sink) - (2) sets of wires coming to box. hot (black) and neutral tied to receptacle, while other hot (red) is pigtailed together and not connected to receptacle.

Receptacle 2 (left of sink) - (2) sets of wires coming to box. hot (red) and neutral tied to receptacle, while other hot (black) is pigtailed together and not connected to receptacle.

While trying to put GFCI on receptacle 2, I cut the power (both 20A breakers) and disconnected wires from receptacle. Split and capped wires to determine what cable should be line and load. Turned power back on, results are with voltage detector: red wire 1 is hot, red wire 2 is hot, neutral 1 is hot (hot meaning that detector is buzzing), neutral 2 is not hot.

How is the GFCI supposed to be wired in this situation? Do I potentially have a bigger problem? I thought that this receptacle replacement would be simple but doesn't appear to be.
Thank you and your feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:23 PM   #2
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Replacing receptacle with GFCI wiring problem


Are you trying to protect downstream receptacles or just have two (2) independent GFCI outlets?
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:36 PM   #3
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Replacing receptacle with GFCI wiring problem


You have a multiwire branch circuit in your kitchen. You can't use the load connections because the neutral is shared between the two circuits. You will have to install a GFI in each location and only use the line connection.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:31 PM   #4
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Replacing receptacle with GFCI wiring problem


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Originally Posted by clydesdale View Post
Are you trying to protect downstream receptacles or just have two (2) independent GFCI outlets?
Thanks for the response. Ideally would like downstream protection but am trying to fulfill code requirement of receptacle within 2ft of water must be protected with GFCI
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:42 PM   #5
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Replacing receptacle with GFCI wiring problem


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You have a multiwire branch circuit in your kitchen. You can't use the load connections because the neutral is shared between the two circuits. You will have to install a GFI in each location and only use the line connection.
That was quick. For clarification, in the GFCI I had previously purchased, there are two back-wire slots for hot and two back-wire slots for neutral in the line connection. You are saying that all four wires (2 hot / 2 neutral) attach to the line connection back-wire slots?

Thank you for the advice.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:55 PM   #6
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Replacing receptacle with GFCI wiring problem


Because it is a multiwire branch circuit you will have to pigtail the white wire. For example, in your first box that has black going to the outlet put both blacks into the back wiring of the Line. The white wire should already have a pigtail on it so connect that pigtail to the back wiring of the GFCI Line. If there isn't a pigtail you will need to add one.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:00 PM   #7
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Replacing receptacle with GFCI wiring problem


BTW, I read back through your first posting and you used the term pigtail for wires that are passing through. Pigtail mean you twist two wires together along with a short third wire (6"). This short wire is the pigtail.
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:21 AM   #8
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Replacing receptacle with GFCI wiring problem


I used wrong term. Hot wires for alternate circuit are not pigtailed but are twisted and capped.

By wiring as proposed, the outlet would GFCI protected at the spot only and not downstream. Not exactly sure what NEC code is, is there a way to wire so that downstream is protected as well?
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:32 AM   #9
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Replacing receptacle with GFCI wiring problem


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Originally Posted by braden View Post
I used wrong term. Hot wires for alternate circuit are not pigtailed but are twisted and capped.

By wiring as proposed, the outlet would GFCI protected at the spot only and not downstream. Not exactly sure what NEC code is, is there a way to wire so that downstream is protected as well?
You will need a GFCI receptacle at each outlet. Because it is a MWBC you cannot split the neutral lines.
The two breakers supporting this should have a handle tie.
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