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How NOT to install GFCI

Like a single ant in a bag of sugar, where you find one improperly installed GFCI, you will find more. Here's a lesson from a home that was "flipped" by a DIYer.

improperly wired gfci

If you have ever purchased a home, you know how exciting this can be! You also know how terrifying this can be! You never know what will go wrong, when it will go wrong, or how much it will cost to repair it. We found this today during an electrical inspection.

Why GFCIs Should Never Be Installed with a Ground Connected to Neutral

Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are electrical safety devices that protect people from electrical shock. They work by detecting small imbalances in the current flowing through the hot and neutral wires of an electrical circuit. If a ground fault occurs, such as when a person touches a live wire, the GFCI will trip and shut off the power to the circuit.

It is important to never connect the ground wire to the neutral wire at a GFCI outlet. Doing so can actually make the outlet less safe. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • It can create a false sense of security. If the ground wire is connected to the neutral wire, the GFCI may not trip even if there is a ground fault. This can give people a false sense of security, leading them to believe that they are protected from electrical shock when they are not.

  • It can create a shock hazard. If the neutral wire breaks, any voltage that is present on the hot wire will be transferred to the ground wire. This can create a shock hazard if someone touches the ground wire.

  • It can damage the GFCI. Connecting the ground wire to the neutral wire can damage the GFCI, making it less effective at detecting ground faults.

For these reasons, it is important to never connect the ground wire to the neutral wire at a GFCI outlet. If you are not sure how to properly install a GFCI outlet, it is best to hire a qualified electrician.

Here are some additional safety tips for working with GFCIs:

  • Always wear safety glasses and gloves when working with electrical equipment.

  • Turn off the power to the circuit before working on it.

  • Test the GFCI outlet to make sure it is working properly before using it.

  • Do not overload the circuit.

  • Keep the GFCI outlet clean and free of debris.

By following these safety tips, you can help to prevent electrical accidents. Of course, you can always #CallSunny and we will gladly help you accomplish the task!

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