GFIC breakers

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My house was built in 1983 and, therefore, has GFIC circuit breakers only for the garage and outside outlets.
I would like to have GFIC protection on my kitchen outlets as well. Can I just buy a 15 A GFIC breaker and replace the old (non GFIC) breaker in the main panel?
Thanks
--

Walter
The Happy Iconoclast www.rationality.net
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simple answer, yes. assuming they make one that fits your panel, and they probably do.
that said, you dont want the fridge on that circuit.
randy
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Glad you mentioned the fridge. Thanks.
Maybe I should just put GFIC outlets in the kitchen, instead of using a GFIC breaker.
--

Walter
The Happy Iconoclast www.rationality.net
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to get them, it'll work better if you ask for them by the right name: GFCI (not GFIC). Stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. Sometimes referred to as GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) - same thing.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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PITA. Unless you have a good reason not to use a GFCI outlet instead, they are the best choice. You know that you only need one GFCI outlet per cicuit, don't you? Make it the first outlet on the circuit and those after it are protected. I think it was code back in 1983 that kitchens needed two circuits, and the refrigerator had to be on a third circuit. (Mine was done that way, also 1983, and they didn't do anything better than the bare minimum.) You might want to check if yours was done that way before installing anything.
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That sound like a great idea. Question: How can I tell which one is the *first* outlet on a circuit?
Walter The Happy Iconoclast www.rationality.net

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if you dont know the answer to that question, you best get down to the library and get a time life book on home wiring. there is no simple answer. the first one is the first one and it all depends on how it was wired. there may not even be a first one. you find this out be removing outlets from the circuit and testing.
this is why i suggested the breaker in the first place. you seem to want answers, not knowledge.
randy
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Determining which outlet in a circuit is the first one necessarily involves exposing conductors which are (or may be) live, and is inherently hazardous. Quite frankly - and no offense intended - if you need to ask that question, you probably shouldn't be trying to do that yet. First, head to your local library (or, for that matter, Home Depot or Lowe's) and get a book or two on residential electrical wiring. This isn't brain surgery, but there's a bit more to it than meets the eye. Nobody wants you to turn into a crispy critter.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Hi Doug
I have followed your advice and invested in the Home Depot "Electricity 1-2-3" book and also the "Complete Wiring" by Stanley Tools. A new challenge!
Thank you for your concern.
Walter The Happy Iconoclast www.rationality.net
wrote:

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You can tell the last outlet; it only has one cable going to it. And again, you can usually figure out which is first by finding out which is last. You test your theory by disconnecting one wire from the outlet you think is the first one. That will cut power to 1) the outlet in question, 2) All outlets but the one you working on, 3) All outlets, or 4) some outlets but not all.
I won't explain this; if you can't figure it out yourself, you shouldn't be doing it! If it isn't the first outlet, then you just have to try another. (Naturally you have to have the breaker off any time you might encounter a live wire...)
I am making the assumption that the circuit has only outlets on it; but that should be true for a properly wired kitchen.
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CAREFUL! First outlet has minimum 2 hot and 2 neutrals. Disconnecting the wrong one and the outlet still has power. Assume everything has power until you "prove" otherwise.

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Disconnect one at random. Put wire nuts on everything. Turn the breaker on, and see what works. When the answer is "nothing", that's the first breaker.

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this thread got me checking my kitchen wiring. everything else around here was done with one buttock and it's no surprise that this was too.
there are 2 20A circuits used for outlets in the kitchen. I'm guessing that originally neither was GFCI protected. Well the previous owners must have decided at some point to add GFCI protection and probably just replaced an ordinary outlet with a GFCI outlet in each circuit. I'm further guessing that the repeated tripping caused by the refrigerator rapidly caused one of the outlets to break. The one on that circuit is broken now. It functions as an outlet but it doesn't provide GFCI protection (it fails the test button) and the circuit as a whole shows an open neutral. The wiring on the outlets looks sound, as best as i can tell given push in terminals, and the wiring at the panel is solid, so I'm guess that that indication is caused by the faulty GFCI outlet.
Of course this outlet is within 6 feet of the sink and so it's gonna have to be protected... which means flipping it over to the other circuit... which means fishing cable.... sigh....
at least i caught this before we put up all the new cabinets.
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thinking about this further. Does current code call for 2 GFCI protected outlet circuits and an additional one for a refrigerator? If that's the case I need to have a new 20A circuit run for the fridge.
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Refrigerator must be on its own circuit AND must not be GFCIed. Obviously if the GFCI tripped, and was reset later, then the refrigerator has lots of unrefrigerated food that a human might not know about.
Same applies to a circuit used by both refrigerator and other appliances. Another appliance tripping the circuit could leave a refrigerator getting warm. Again, a human safety issue solved by putting the refrigerator on its own and not GFCIed circuit.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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wrote:

Tends to be cheaper that way.
if you find the first outlet, you can protect all the down stream devices. I would makesure that you use a 15a gfci receptacle, only if it has a 20a passthru for your small applicance circuit.
<<scratching head>> Did they have "20amp small applicance circuits" back then?
tom
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Why would you not want the fridge on that circuit? In fact as far as that goes if money were not an issue and you did not care what breakers cost why would you not use all GFCI breakers for the entire house?
Joe
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1. You want a GFI to trip and shut down your smoke alarms? 2. You want a GFI to trip and destroy all the food in your fridge?
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My house is only 6 years old so I have these breakers in my kitchen and bathrooms and they have never once tripped which tells me they have a very low false trip rate so if you do not care about the expense of installing them why not use them as they may save someone in a very bizarre situation. Joe

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Yes, they may save someone in a very bizarre situation. But other than the very bizarre situations that you are concerned about, I'm comfortable using them only where they are most likely needed, and hesitate to put them into applications where they are not.
Because as I pointed out they may kill you too which is why its completely against code to put smoke alarms on a circuit protected by a GFI but if you want to wake up to a fridge full of rotten food and ice melted all over the floor or perhaps not be alerted to a fire well then go right ahead and put GFIs wherever you want in fact you could even replace every outlet with a GFI AND replace every breaker with a GFI breaker just to be extra extra safe after all it is America and it is your house well technically I suppose its probably the banks house but go right ahead and do what you want its possible they make GFI switches too and you could also replace all your switches with GFIs and maybe too you could only buy light fixtures with built in GFIs and then this way you are getting like backups to backups to backups to backups and your house will be really really safe and protected against really bizarre situations.
Unless of course, the misuse of a GFI kills you.
That would be completely different.
And - it would be really bizarre.
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