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Old 09-06-2010, 11:11 AM   #1
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


I don't know enough about GFI's, so I'm wondering why not put them on all circuits?

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Old 09-06-2010, 11:25 AM   #2
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


The first thing that comes to mind is if you don't need them why have the cost of putting them in. GFI plugs and or breakers are not cheep, especially if you use them on every 15/20A service.

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Old 09-06-2010, 12:03 PM   #3
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


Usually GFCI's are only used around areas that may encounter water
Bathroom, kitchen, basement, laundry, garage & outside outlets
They really aren't needed on every circuit
Instead AFCI's are used & required by code
In this thread are 2 pics that show where AFCI is required
AFCI breakers are now a combo breaker
--they have a degree of GFCI protection built in

NEC- National Electric code 2008
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:12 PM   #4
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


The combo AFCI breakers have nothing to do with the slight(30mA) GFI built into them. The combo refers to the fact that they detect both series and parallel arc faults. The GFI built in is NOT the people protection provide by GFCI breakers and receptacles.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:20 PM   #5
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


Good to know. Another question now....I just swapped out a rusted panel with a new one from Lowes the other day. I just matched what was there and have no afci's. It sounds like I need to go back and replace the regular $2.50 breakers with the $40 ones I saw at lowes then. Correct?

Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:56 PM   #6
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


Not necessarily. If your current wiring was code compliant when installed and you are not disturbing said wiring then you are not required to bring it up to the current code unless local ordinances require it.
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:30 PM   #7
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


GFI's are generally not used in critical applications such as hospital oxygen machines etc., since they are prone to tripping, and we don't like to kill the patient. Same goes for your house, if there is a medical circuit you don't want a GFI. For sump pumps, you may not want a GFI, since they may trip out when you need them the most.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:18 PM   #8
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


If a sump pump trips a GFI there is a problem with the sump pump. What is more important, a flooded basement or someones life?
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:22 PM   #9
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


I was told by my NEC instructor that items such as fluorescent lightbulbs, computers, etc. are "unbalanced loads."

As such, I can only imagine that they would routinely trip a GFCI breaker even when there is no problem whatsoever.

(edit: In fact, a simple google search provides lots of results talking about problems with such devices connected to a GFCI-protected circuit, so I'd work from using the NEC requirements [bathroom, kitchen, garage, outdoor, basement, laundry, etc. circuits] as a base and seeing if you could add any GFCI on top of that, as I am of the impression that you would cause yourself a lot of problems if you simply put a GFCI breaker into every slot on your service panel and expected it to work.)

Last edited by NoobElectrician; 09-06-2010 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:59 PM   #10
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


I've had a computer running off a GFCI protected circuit for almost 7 years now without any problem
2nd computer also running off another GFCI circuit for over a year - no problems
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:11 PM   #11
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


To Noob, your instructor might have been talking about harmonics and the additive affect they can have on a neutral.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:58 PM   #12
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What are the cons to putting a GFI on every 15/20amp circuit in a house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
To Noob, your instructor might have been talking about harmonics and the additive affect they can have on a neutral.
Wouldn't that trip the GFCI, since they are designed to break the circuit when there is a difference between the current (amps) on the line and the current on the neutral?

Again, I'm not even a journeyman electrician, so my comment on the matter doesn't carry too much weight, but nonetheless, my understanding was that fluorescent lighting, computers, etc. are not exactly GFCI-friendly. If you care to explain how they are not, I'm more than willing to listen, as I am here to learn.

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