DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's my dilemma. I appreciate any help/insight you've got!

1. The way things were wired in the house (original) was like this: each outlet is served with a 2 pole 15A breaker. The recepticals are split duplex. However, none are GFCI protected and each breaker pole serves two plugs (across the room from each other)

2. We did a kitchen remodel. The placement of the sink did not change and the walls did not change. No wiring was changed either.

3. I would still like to bring the wiring up to code (Canadian). I am not going to run 12/2 Romex. So that leaves buying GFCI breakers.

4. My panel is federal pioneer (stab lok). I cannot find 2 pole 15A GFCI breakers for this kind of panel. They seem to just not exist (at least not that I can find)

What do I do? I would like at least the outlets by the sink protected by GFCI.

Do you think I would be within code to use four 1 pole GFCI breakers and place them next to each other on the panel, then tie them together in pairs with tie bars? Is it possible to buy the little metal tie bars?

It's too bad GFCI breakers are so expensive. Makes it hard to even want to do (although the safety aspect makes it hard to ignore!)

Thanks
 

·
retired framer
Joined
·
44,484 Posts
Here's my dilemma. I appreciate any help/insight you've got!

1. The way things were wired in the house (original) was like this: each outlet is served with a 2 pole 15A breaker. The recepticals are split duplex. However, none are GFCI protected and each breaker pole serves two plugs (across the room from each other)

2. We did a kitchen remodel. The placement of the sink did not change and the walls did not change. No wiring was changed either.

3. I would still like to bring the wiring up to code (Canadian). I am not going to run 12/2 Romex. So that leaves buying GFCI breakers.

4. My panel is federal pioneer (stab lok). I cannot find 2 pole 15A GFCI breakers for this kind of panel. They seem to just not exist (at least not that I can find)

What do I do? I would like at least the outlets by the sink protected by GFCI.

Do you think I would be within code to use four 1 pole GFCI breakers and place them next to each other on the panel, then tie them together in pairs with tie bars? Is it possible to buy the little metal tie bars?

It's too bad GFCI breakers are so expensive. Makes it hard to even want to do (although the safety aspect makes it hard to ignore!)

Thanks
So, why not use gfci outlets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
So, why not use gfci outlets.
Because he has a multi-wire branch circuit at each receptacle box The way I read his post, the hot tie is cut on each receptacle, so he has four 15A small appliance branch circuits.

1. The way things were wired in the house (original) was like this: each outlet is served with a 2 pole 15A breaker. The recepticals are split duplex. However, none are GFCI protected and each breaker pole serves two plugs (across the room from each other)
...
It's too bad GFCI breakers are so expensive. Makes it hard to even want to do (although the safety aspect makes it hard to ignore!)
Can you enlarge each box to a 2-gang and then put two GFCI receptacles into each box?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,104 Posts
I don’t have a direct solution for your GFCI question, but what are your thoughts around the continued use of a Stab-Lok panel in your house? I see that you posted in the one of the latest threads that discussed the safety issues associated with them, so perhaps you read some of that. If you were contemplating a panel replacement that would solve your GFCI issue, since you can readily buy 2-pole GFCI breakers for other panels.
https://www.diychatroom.com/f18/ground-fault-breaker-did-not-trip-654677/

Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,880 Posts
If I understand you have duplex receptacles with each half of the duplex fed by separate breakers. Do they share a neutral or does each have its own neutral? GFCIs won’t work with a shared neutral.
If no shared neutrals, you could put GFCI receptacles in work boxes by the breaker panel on each circuit. You would have to go there for resets, but with GFCI breakers you have to anyway.
 

·
retired framer
Joined
·
44,484 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,812 Posts
That will work except I don't know if you are allowed to have the extra receptacles on the LOAD terminals.
 

·
retired framer
Joined
·
44,484 Posts
That will work except I don't know if you are allowed to have the extra receptacles on the LOAD terminals.
They have 2 wire on the load side so there is no shared neutral after the gfci.
 

·
Very Stable Genius
Joined
·
4,480 Posts
Like this? The gfci does not care if the breaker is 15 amps




That doesn't meet ESA requirements. When a split duplex is replaced,
it must be replaced by 2 GFI's with one on "red" and the other on "black".
As before the changes were made, the neutral must be shared and
neutrals must be tailed so that any outlet can be removed w/o opening
a neutral.
Note: Canadian Federal Pioneer Stab-lok panels are NOT the same
as the US Federal Pacific, which are/were highly problematic.

Now if you want reasonable ways to make this safer and still usable, but
not meet OESC/ESA requirements.....that's a different question.....
 

·
retired framer
Joined
·
44,484 Posts
That doesn't meet ESA requirements. When a split duplex is replaced,
it must be replaced by 2 GFI's with one on "red" and the other on "black".
As before the changes were made, the neutral must be shared and
neutrals must be tailed so that any outlet can be removed w/o opening
a neutral.
Note: Canadian Federal Pioneer Stab-lok panels are NOT the same
as the US Federal Pacific, which are/were highly problematic.

Now if you want reasonable ways to make this safer and still usable, but
not meet OESC/ESA requirements.....that's a different question.....
Okay if is not allowed, you can't do it. I still don't understand the problem with it.
 

·
Very Stable Genius
Joined
·
4,480 Posts
Okay if is not allowed, you can't do it. I still don't understand the problem with it.

There's reasons for me to disagree with the logic, but here it is:

When you have a split receptacle, that split has power/wattage
available that is twice what is available if that split is replaced
by either one or two receptacles both powered off a single
phase*. In theory, this allows a knowledgeable user to plug,
for instance, a kettle into the top outlet and a toaster into the
bottom w/o concern for tripping a breaker.

I happen to think there's multiple flaws in that thinking, but
that's the thinking, and two circuits must be maintained at each
location in order to meet OESC/ESA requirements....unless the
circuit is replaced with one that is 20A's.

* Let's not have the phase vs leg argument please.
 

·
retired framer
Joined
·
44,484 Posts
There's reasons for me to disagree with the logic, but here it is:

When you have a split receptacle, that split has power/wattage
available that is twice what is available if that split is replaced
by either one or two receptacles both powered off a single
phase*. In theory, this allows a knowledgeable user to plug,
for instance, a kettle into the top outlet and a toaster into the
bottom w/o concern for tripping a breaker.

I happen to think there's multiple flaws in that thinking, but
that's the thinking, and two circuits must be maintained at each
location in order to meet OESC/ESA requirements....unless the
circuit is replaced with one that is 20A's.

* Let's not have the phase vs leg argument please.
Keep it simple please.
So you would be worried about over loading the neutral? Or over heating the whole cable?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,812 Posts
No overheating of the neutral or the cables. The circuit is still protected by a 15 amp breaker. It would be a simple overload tripping the breaker.
With a single split wired receptacle you can plug in two high wattage devices with no issues, one in each plug. Not much chance of an overload.
When you split that into four receptacles you now have four plug positions on the same circuit where high wattage devices can be plugged in. Much greater chance of overload. ESA has given a compromise of two plugin positions with one receptacle on each line.

I'm not sure where in Canada the OP is but each province likely has a similar compromise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the replies! I'm in BC.

I was wondering about taking out the old single gang boxes and replacing with TWO GFCI plugs instead of one. And yes, this is only for the two receptacles that are within 1.5 meters of the sink.

The problem is, each of the receptacles by the sink are tied in with one other receptacle each. I've attached a (badly drawn) diagram of what is currently installed.

I'm very intrigued at the idea of converting the two receptacles by the sink into four GFCI receptacles. This would completely solve the problem if it's legal, and it would be a relatively inexpensive solution.

The problem I won't be able to solve is the fact that I don't think I have enough breakers serving the kitchen. I think I would need four 2-pole 15A breakers to be completely up to code (to serve the equivalent of 4 split duplex receptacles/8 outlets with 15A in each), instead of the two 2-pole 15A breakers that have been used since the house was built.

The other potential problem is that the neutral line for each 30A circuit is shared between two receptacles. I haven't come across needing a GFCI to have it's own unshared neutral. I'll have to look that up.
 

Attachments

·
retired framer
Joined
·
44,484 Posts
Thanks for the replies! I'm in BC.

I was wondering about taking out the old single gang boxes and replacing with TWO GFCI plugs instead of one. And yes, this is only for the two receptacles that are within 1.5 meters of the sink.

The problem is, each of the receptacles by the sink are tied in with one other receptacle each. I've attached a (badly drawn) diagram of what is currently installed.

I'm very intrigued at the idea of converting the two receptacles by the sink into four GFCI receptacles. This would completely solve the problem if it's legal, and it would be a relatively inexpensive solution.

The problem I won't be able to solve is the fact that I don't think I have enough breakers serving the kitchen. I think I would need four 2-pole 15A breakers to be completely up to code (to serve the equivalent of 4 split duplex receptacles/8 outlets with 15A in each), instead of the two 2-pole 15A breakers that have been used since the house was built.

The other potential problem is that the neutral line for each 30A circuit is shared between two receptacles. I haven't come across needing a GFCI to have it's own unshared neutral. I'll have to look that up.
Okay I admitted I don't understand but by what you just said a drew, you need help, you are a lot further away than I am. :vs_cool::biggrin2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,612 Posts
* Let's not have the phase vs leg argument please.
Keep it simple please.
So you would be worried about over loading the neutral? Or over heating the whole cable?
As an "outsider", I find this to be an "interesting" discussion.
In the case sited, where a split 240 V centre tapped single phase is feeding two sets of 120 V "Lines" via an appropriate Breaker, if the load on each of the 120 V lines is equal there will be no current on the Neutral at all.

If the load on each of the two Lines is different, the current on the Neutral will be the difference between these two currents.

The "worst case" scenario is when the current on one Line is the maximum allowed by the breaker and the current on the other Line is zero,
in this case, the current on the Neutral will be equal to the current on the Line on which current is flowing.


By the way, I will be interested to view the movie "The Current War", which I understand has been shown in North America but is due for release here on 19 March, 2020.

(Personally, I consider that it should be "The Voltage War", and that AC should be AV, since one can have Voltage without Current BUT one cannot have Current without Voltage.)

Because of Edison's "belief" that any voltage of 100 V DC or less was "safe" but any voltage higher than this was "not safe", he designed his DC supply system to have two DC supplies of 100 V Positive and 100 V Negative, relative to the Ground potential of a third conductor.

The shadow of this belief is still evident in the domestic AC electrical distribution systems of North America today.

Fortunately, for most of the remainder of the world, the "European" practice of using a domestic supply of between 220 V to 250 V has been adopted in most other countries.
This results in cost savings due to the practice of
using one large transformer to supply many premises,
the smaller conductors required for most supplies and
the simplicity of having only one voltage needed for all single phase purposes
supplied via a single type of socket-outlet/plug.

Also, since the end of WWII, most Panels/Switchboards/CUs using 230 V (or so) have used DIN standard equipment, which is interchangeable, no matter which manufacturer produced it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I don’t have a direct solution for your GFCI question, but what are your thoughts around the continued use of a Stab-Lok panel in your house? I see that you posted in the one of the latest threads that discussed the safety issues associated with them, so perhaps you read some of that. If you were contemplating a panel replacement that would solve your GFCI issue, since you can readily buy 2-pole GFCI breakers for other panels.
https://www.diychatroom.com/f18/ground-fault-breaker-did-not-trip-654677/

Chris
From what I understand, Canadian Federal Pioneer panels don't have the same issues as the Federal Pioneer panels that caused so much grief in the US. I've had no issues with my 100 Amp Stab Lok panel, and it's been there since 1984.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,104 Posts
We had a Federal Pioneer (FP) Stab-Lok panel in our 1992 built house. I looked hard for evidence that Canadian sourced Stab-Lok breakers were substantially different than those sold in the US, but couldn’t find any. I did find information suggesting that they were essentially the same thing. Here’s one website:
https://inspectapedia.com/fpe/Federal_Pioneer_Electric_Panel.php

We’re almost to the end of a whole house DIY renovation. As part of that we wanted to incorporate GFI and AFCI protection in the panel wherever practical, but as part of trying to source those breakers I could see the writing on the wall suggesting that Schneider Electric was going to get out of the Stab-Lok business eventually, making it harder to source parts in the future:
https://www.se.com/ca/en/faqs/FA316524/

We also wanted to fix any underlying issues in the house as part of this reno, so we decided to replace the FP panel a couple of years ago. It was in perfect condition, clean, no indication of overheating, no visibly damaged breakers, 200 Amp main circuit breaker, nothing falling out, CSA stamps on everything. After we pulled it out I sent the breakers to the principal author of the following IEEE paper for testing. He reported that:

“The performance of your Canadian Federal Pioneer breakers is similar to that of the US brands”.

Some of the breakers that failed to open by 135% of their rated current were unused, bought at Home Depot Canada, manufactured in Mexico in 2013. The Stab-Lok breakers are “Brand X” in this paper.
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=8283732

Chris
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top