View Full Version : GFCI outlet question
07-13-2000, 08:36 AM
Gee...today must be electricity day.
We just redid our kitchen (I'll spare you the @#$%&* contractor stories). We have four outlets (two GFCIs) in the kitchen...two on either side of the sink and two on either side of the stove. They installed the GFCIs on either side of the stove.
Unless, I'm missing something, shouldn't these should be installed on either side of the sink? Since my goal is not to electrocute myself by dropping something into the water, this makes the most sense. Am I missing something?
07-13-2000, 08:41 AM
No, but your contractor did.
07-13-2000, 08:58 AM
I think the building codes for the U.S. require GFCI's on all new construction in kitchens, bathrooms, outside, and any other location where the outlet will be regularly exposed to damp conditions. I think the logic is that you could plug something with a really long cord into a stove outlet and use it over the sink. Of course, I'm not a gubbment beaurocrat, so YMMV. GFCI trivia: you can also get GFCI circuit breakers that guard an entire circuit. In that situation, you can use ordinary outlets even in a wet location.
07-13-2000, 09:44 AM
As someone mentioned in another thread, one GFI outlet protects all others further down the circuit, so often a contractor will make the first receptacle in a circuit a GFI. You really didn't need more than one in the kitchen, unless they're on separate circuits (i.e. have separate breakers).
My guess is that you've got two separate kitchen circuits, and the builder put in one GFI outlet for each circuit, which would protect the sink outlets also. To test that theory, just press the little "test" button on a GFI outlet, and see if a sink receptacle goes out also.
07-13-2000, 09:57 AM
I'll bet that your stove is closer to your breaker box. That, or the stove outlets were already there. Why? Let me explain...
GFCIs have two sets of terminals on them; a line side and a load side. Power comes in from the beaker box to the line side; the load side can be used to connect other outlets that you want to have protected. The outlets on either side of the sink are probably connected to the load side. The electrician, to save wire, probably put the GFCIs on the outlets closest to the existing wire run, or else he ran wire from the breaker box to the nearest outlets in the circuit and then ran wire from the load side of the interrupters to the other outlets.
(GFCIs are ground fault circuit interrupters, for anyone who was wondering. They act sort of like a breaker and open any circuit that has a current to ground, like what happens when you get electrocuted.)
If you want, you could easily rewire the circuit to have GFCIs at every outlet. This would require rewiring the GFCI outlets and adding interrupters at the other outlets but wouldn't require any more wire.
07-13-2000, 10:17 AM
test the ones that do not *appear* to be GFI protected and you will probably find out that they *are* protected. That's the way they are in my kitchen.
Do you know how to test an outlet to see the GFI is wporking>?
A 10K 2W resistor between the hot (narrow prong) and ground (round prong) (you can build a plug wired like this) and it should trip it.
It is a good idea to test GFI circuits regularly.
07-13-2000, 11:45 AM
Yep...the separate lines make sense. They did move some outlets and run another line to the box. I was unaware they protect all outlets on the same line, so I'll test them before I say anything.
One less thing to bitch to the contractor about. Thanks all.
07-13-2000, 12:24 PM
it is also standard to have outlets in one room be on different circuits so that if one goes you still have the other.
Mine is an old house and is not wired like that so when one circuit goes you are left with nothing in a whole section of the house.
07-13-2000, 04:55 PM
You're also not supposed to mix lighting and receptacles, so that if you trip a breaker by plugging in too many appliances, you're not left in the dark. I've never seen a house that didn't mix some lighting with receptacles, though :(
07-13-2000, 05:16 PM
From rundogrun I was unaware they protect all outlets on the same line
This is not quite accurate I don't think. A GFCI protects itself plus anything connected on the load side of the outlet. That doesn't mean that there aren't unprotected outlets up the line from the GFCI outlet.
Most if not all GFCI outlets have a test button on them. Press it and see what other outlets go off.
I don't know how your kitchen is laid out, but I would have thought you would put a GFCI outlet and a regular outlet by the stove on one line and the same by the sink on another. That would seem to be the most conservative for wire.
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