DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
21 - 25 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,810 Posts
The question is in the OP, what did the electrician mean, there could be a problem after the install? The thread has given me a few things to check, but no real problems that would come up after the installation.
The 20 year old basement outlets (or the things that are plugged into them) may have existing ground faults that will become apparent when the breaker supplying them is changed to one that will detect them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
The 20 year old basement outlets may have existing ground faults that will become apparent when the breaker supplying them is changed to one that will detect them.
If thats the case, how does one trace down the outlet that has a "existing ground fault"? Could I used a plug-in outlet tester to find a ground fault? Would voltage be detected at the outlet electrical box?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,678 Posts
Electricians don't like it when you buy parts for them. Least, they cannot offer a warranty on the part, making things awkward if the part fails.

The issue with upgrading a circuit to GFCI is it will detect a variety of things:

  • Multi-wire branch circuits
  • Hard-wired appliances with a ground fault
  • Plug-in appliances with a ground fault
  • Any existing wiring faults such as
  • Any loads attached to both this hot and another circuit's neutral, or vice versa
  • any smart switches ditto ditto
  • any pre-existing contact between neutral and ground

So then you're off on a bug hunt. Also

- the requirement to identify all outlets on the circuit and put "GFCI Protected" labeling on them in a manner which is not hand-written

If you know where the first receptacle in the circuit is, you can just as easily install a GFCI receptacle at that location and have effectively the same protection. And problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Electricians don't like it when you buy parts for them. Least, they cannot offer a warranty on the part, making things awkward if the part fails.

The issue with upgrading a circuit to GFCI is it will detect a variety of things:

  • Multi-wire branch circuits
  • Hard-wired appliances with a ground fault
  • Plug-in appliances with a ground fault
  • Any existing wiring faults such as
  • Any loads attached to both this hot and another circuit's neutral, or vice versa
  • any smart switches ditto ditto
  • any pre-existing contact between neutral and ground

So then you're off on a bug hunt. Also

- the requirement to identify all outlets on the circuit and put "GFCI Protected" labeling on them in a manner which is not hand-written

If you know where the first receptacle in the circuit is, you can just as easily install a GFCI receptacle at that location and have effectively the same protection. And problems.
Thanks for your insight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
867 Posts
Rogerwh - I think the best thing to do is educate yourself a bit with how GFCI breakers are installed and how they work and what type of protection they provide.

I did not hear the conversation you had with the electrician on the phone so I won't even guess what he meant by there may be problems. I know sometimes speaking to a potential or even an existing customer over the phone I could not always give them a clear cut yes or no or yes it will work and no it won't work. Sometimes the descriptions given to me are not quite clear enough so I would rather say that I am not sure, go and see the layout, examine what needs to be done, evaluate if there will be issues and then discuss it with the homeowner. What a homeowner may think is not very important in an installation may be very important to the trained eye.

If you ran that circuit from the panel to a junction box first then yes a GFCI breaker would be your best bet. But you could also rewire and install at the junction box a GFCI receptacle which would be much cheaper than a GFCI QO breaker.
So six of one half dozen of the other.

Again, the circuit is 20 years old. I would prefer to look at it first and see what is up.
 
21 - 25 of 25 Posts
Top