How to Wire a GFCI Outlet
Have you ever needed to wire a new GFCI outlet if an old one is no longer working? This can be a very frustrating situation for a homeowner, but as an electrician, you should be able to take care of the issue fairly quickly. Here are a few helpful tips to aid you in the process of wiring and installing a GFCI outlet.
What is a GFCI Outlet?
A GFCI outlet, or ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, is a type of electrical outlet typically installed in homes to prevent the risk of accidental electrocution. These types of outlets are usually found in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, laundry rooms, and outdoor outlet locations. If the GFCI outlet picks up on a ground fault or electrical current leak, it will automatically stop the current flow of electricity to prevent accidental electrocution.
These types of outlets are particularly important to install if you’re working on a house with an electrical system that is 20 years old or older. Why? Older houses tend to have lots of electrical issues and risks. Installing a GFCI outlet can protect home residents from experiencing severe electrical shocks or even deadly electrocution.
Prep the Old Outlet
To get started wiring a GFCI outlet, make sure to prep the old outlet location for the replacement. Start by turning off the power connected to the circuit in the part of the house where you’ll be working. You’ll do this at the electrical breaker panel. Before you start working, it is helpful to test the area for electrical currents to make sure you won’t be shocked. Once you’re sure the power is disabled, then remove the outlet cover plate. Unscrew the screws that are holding the outlet box in place and remove the outlet by disconnecting the wires.
Attach New Wires
When you’re installing the new GFCI outlet, pay attention to the “line” and “load” screw terminals on the back. There will also be a grounding screw present. Make sure to attach the black wire and white wire to the corresponding light and dark-colored screws on the “line” side. Then, you’ll wrap the bare, copper wire around the grounding screw, which is usually green-colored. Make sure to tuck all of the wires safely into the GFCI outlet box as you put it back into place.
Test the Outlet
After your wires are attached, screw the new GFCI outlet box back into place. Replace the cover plate by screwing it in as well. Then you’ll need to test the outlet. Turn the power back on to the circuit where you’re working by accessing the breaker box. Then, press the “test” button. If the power to the outlet turns off, you’ll know that the outlet is powered and working correctly. The reset button will restore the current flow and power to the outlet, and the corresponding alert light should go on if there is a light on your GFCI outlet.
So, if you ever need to wire a new GFCI outlet, you will generally be expected to follow certain steps: prep the old outlet, accurately attach the new wires, and test the outlet before finishing. Nevertheless, the instructions presented in this article should never replace reading thorough instructions that come with your GFCI outlet. This will help to ensure that your wiring and installation of the new outlet are successful and accurate.