View Full Version : Does GFCI breaker render GFCI outlet unnecessary?


lawfarm
02-16-2009, 10:56 AM
I'm going to be installing some outlets outdoors, on the perimeter of my patio, this spring. I hate GFCI outlets (did I mention that I hate GFCI outlets?) Also, I hate GFCI outlets. Don't forget that part.

The question I have is whether it is necessary to install GFCI outlets if I use a GFCI breaker. All of the outlets will be on a single 15 or 20 amp breaker (with properly sized wire). I'll be running a run of romex inside the house to a junction box, where the wire will be converted to 'regular' wire run inside of plastic conduit (glued and sealed) to outdoor plastic junction boxes, with outlets inside, with 'water resistant while in use' style covers. I'd prefer to NOT have to use GFCI outlets if not absolutely necessary. Assume that I'm asking two questions here:

1. From a NEC perspective, is it necessary to use GFCI outlets for outdoor use when served by a GFCI breaker?

2. From a practical perspective (assuming that NEC was inapplicable), is it unsafe to use 'regular' outlets on a GFCI breaker for this application?

sberry
02-16-2009, 11:06 AM
Its what the gfci breaker is for, protects the whole circuit, no need for gfci outlets. The breakers are also good in cases of older homes that may still have 2 wire and no ground.

VHF
02-16-2009, 12:09 PM
Sounds like a good plan to me. I am about to install a couple GFCI breakers to protect some existing outdoor outlets on my house that do not currently have GFCI protection. I am also planning to use 20A GFCI breakers (rather than GFCI recepticals) in my garage.

It is my theory that GFCI recepticals have a shorter average lifespan when installed in a outdoor/damp environment. Yes, the GFCI breakers cost more, but I'd rather buy one $32 breaker than several (over time) $12 recepticals!

mrb
02-16-2009, 01:07 PM
I wouldnt do it this way. If you have a whole string of outlets, and something causes the GFI to trp -you lose all of them. Also, you may have nuicense tripping issues down the road depending on how many feet of wire you have from your breaker to the last outlet, issues with moisture, etc.

Out of curiosity, why the dislike for GFIs? I use the leviton smart lock pro, they have a little green LED on the face that tells you its ok, i like them.

mrb
02-16-2009, 01:09 PM
Sounds like a good plan to me. I am about to install a couple GFCI breakers to protect some existing outdoor outlets on my house that do not currently have GFCI protection. I am also planning to use 20A GFCI breakers (rather than GFCI recepticals) in my garage.

It is my theory that GFCI recepticals have a shorter average lifespan when installed in a outdoor/damp environment. Yes, the GFCI breakers cost more, but I'd rather buy one $32 breaker than several (over time) $12 recepticals!

Make sure your existing outlets arent part of a MWBC or shared neutral setup or you cant use single pole GFI breakers.

For outside, youre supposed to use the new type WR gfis which are weather resistant, they should last a long, long time.

nissan_crawler
02-16-2009, 03:07 PM
I hear you on the GFI's, they absolutely piss me off. If it's an outdoor setup, I doubt you're running anything that would be a problem if all of them tripped, so I would just use a breaker, myself.

walrus
02-16-2009, 03:29 PM
If your going to have a string of outlets why wouldn't you use one GFCI outlet and feed the rest off the load side of that outlet with regular outlets? Certainly cheaper than a GFCI breaker?. If you're outside and it trips, you can reset it right there without going downstairs to the panel to reset the breaker?

PAToyota
02-16-2009, 03:41 PM
I wouldnt do it this way. If you have a whole string of outlets, and something causes the GFI to trp -you lose all of them.

If you do it with a GFI receptacle first in line, you're going to have the same thing.

If your going to have a string of outlets why wouldn't you use one GFCI outlet and feed the rest off the load side of that outlet with regular outlets? Certainly cheaper than a GFCI breaker?. If you're outside and it trips, you can reset it right there without going downstairs to the panel to reset the breaker?

In my shop I went the route of breakers even though it was slightly more expensive. Reason being that things get moved around in the shop and I didn't want to find that I had to crawl behind something to reach the GFI receptacle when it popped. Also, with several different circuits on each floor of the shop it is easier to head over to the panel located on the landing for the stairs than figure out which receptacle is the first one in that string of receptacles.

rinny_tin_tin
02-16-2009, 04:00 PM
I'm going to be installing some outlets outdoors, on the perimeter of my patio, this spring. I hate GFCI outlets (did I mention that I hate GFCI outlets?) Also, I hate GFCI outlets. Don't forget that part.

The question I have is whether it is necessary to install GFCI outlets if I use a GFCI breaker. All of the outlets will be on a single 15 or 20 amp breaker (with properly sized wire). I'll be running a run of romex inside the house to a junction box, where the wire will be converted to 'regular' wire run inside of plastic conduit (glued and sealed) to outdoor plastic junction boxes, with outlets inside, with 'water resistant while in use' style covers. I'd prefer to NOT have to use GFCI outlets if not absolutely necessary. Assume that I'm asking two questions here:

1. From a NEC perspective, is it necessary to use GFCI outlets for outdoor use when served by a GFCI breaker?

2. From a practical perspective (assuming that NEC was inapplicable), is it unsafe to use 'regular' outlets on a GFCI breaker for this application?


The NEC and the AHJs consider a circuit equally GFCI protected either by an GFCI outlet or a GFCI breaker. GFCI breakers are preferred over GFCI outlets in harsh environments, in particular - corrosive and overly humid environments - such as a pool (added assault by halogens, etc) or spa, car wash, etc. although GFCIs are frequently required in damp/wet locations, some damp/wet locations are more damp/wet than others. Althoug UL 943, 3rd edition addressed the corrosive susceptibility of GFCis via conformal coating, etc, they are still impacted. Therefore, for an outdoor location, use a GFCI breaker fed ckt together with NEMA 3R or 4 box, or an in-use box.

Charles (in GA)
02-16-2009, 04:04 PM
If you use the GFCI breaker, obtain a tester, one of those things you plug in an outlet that has LEDs to tell you if it is wired correctly, and has a button you push to test the GFCI itself. Do this for every outlet you THINK is protected to insure they all are. Second, all protected outlets should have a sticker on them, GFCI PROTECTED so people will know this.

Charles

mrb
02-16-2009, 04:27 PM
If you do it with a GFI receptacle first in line, you're going to have the same thing.



In my shop I went the route of breakers even though it was slightly more expensive. Reason being that things get moved around in the shop and I didn't want to find that I had to crawl behind something to reach the GFI receptacle when it popped. Also, with several different circuits on each floor of the shop it is easier to head over to the panel located on the landing for the stairs than figure out which receptacle is the first one in that string of receptacles.


I always just install a GFI for each receptacle to avoid this.

nissan_crawler
02-16-2009, 04:36 PM
As far as I'm concerned, the second time you trip a GFI outlet, you might as well throw it away. It all goes downhill from there. I keep several around just for that reason. If it trips once, I reset it and put a mark on the outlet. If it goes again, it gets trashed. I'm thinking about switching over to breakers. I've already removed all gfi's except what's required by code.

I'm no electrician, though.

PAToyota
02-16-2009, 04:40 PM
I always just install a GFI for each receptacle to avoid this.

Depending upon how you wire it, tripping any of them will then kill the whole line.

Also, you are then way over the cost of the breaker. I have four circuits and receptacles every six feet in my shop. :eek:

Fast Orange
02-16-2009, 04:45 PM
If replacing GFCI outlets occassionally is why you don't like them,I don't think going the breaker route is going to be much better.Although the mounting environment of the breaker is better,the biggest reason GFCI devices go bad is electronics inside failing due to spikes,sags and overload.None of the GFCI devices I've worked with have stood up to heavy duty use,such as in a shop,for very long.Motor starting loads are particularly hard on them.While the Leviton GFCIs are as good as any for normal residential use,I prefer Hubbell GFCI outlets in shop/hard use environments.They cost about twice as much as others,but have half as many problems.

mrb
02-16-2009, 04:53 PM
Depending upon how you wire it, tripping any of them will then kill the whole line.

Also, you are then way over the cost of the breaker. I have four circuits and receptacles every six feet in my shop. :eek:

you wouldnt feed GFIs from the load terminals on a GFI, that would defeat the purpose of using seperate ones.

How many receptacles do you have? Maybe im spoiled by what I am paying for GFIs :/

PAToyota
02-16-2009, 04:56 PM
Yeah, I'd assume that you'd pigtail each one, but I can see someone else not understanding and just going down the line.

First floor has about thirty receptacles on four GFI breakers. No need for GFI on the second floor.