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GFCI Wiring Configurations

It’s a good idea to determine what, if any, GFCI protection there is in your house. Newer houses will have more protection than older ones. Houses built before the 1970s may have no protection because it was not required when it was built. Newer houses likely have a combination of GFCI and AFCI protected receptacles.

Usually a GFCI in the garage will protect standard receptacles on the outside of the house. In a smaller house it may also protect the receptacles (sometimes lights) in the bathroom(s). A larger house may have a GFCI in the garage protecting standard receptacles outside and a GFCI in a bathroom to protect standard receptacles in it and other bathrooms. A GFCI in the kitchen may protect other standard receptacles in the kitchen.

Determine Existing Locations of GFCI Protected Receptacles

  1. Be prepared to document the results of this test. See the Document GFCI Location Form.
  2. Locate GFCI receptacles in house including garage, kitchen, bathrooms, basement, crawl spaces, and outside.
  3. Using a plug tester or nightlight, test receptacles for power in the garage, kitchen, bathrooms, basement, crawl spaces, and outside, including GFCI receptacles. If there is no power to any of the receptacles, see Troubleshoot GFCI Receptacles and GFCI and AFCI Circuit Breakers.
  4. Push the test button on the first GFCI starting in the garage. Verify that power shuts off at this GFCI.
  5. Test the other receptacles in the garage, kitchen, bathrooms, basement, and outside, including other GFCIs, to see if power was shut off. Any receptacles that lost power are connected to the load side of this first GFCI. Make a note of the results. There may be another GFCI connected to the load of the first GFCI tested.
  6. Push the reset button on this first GFCI to restore power. Test this GFCI to ensure that power is back on using a plug tester.
  7. Go the the next GFCI and repeat steps 2 - 6.

* See GFCI connected to the load of another GFCI

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Common GFCI Wiring Configurations Table