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2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

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  • 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

    Hi, I am finishing by basement and would like to add 20 outlets. I have limited space in the panel, and would like to use 12 ga wire with 20amp breakers so that I can have 10 outlets per breaker. I need to incorporate GFI protection to the circuit. I am hearing that there sould be 1 GFI and up to 4 outlets following (5 total) per circuit, true/false?

    Can a second GFI be added after the 5th outlet with 4 additional outlets for a total of 10 outlets per 20amp circit?

    Can anyone help!

  • #2
    Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

    There is no limit to the amount of receptacles you can run of a GFCI. I think it's more a matter of common sense. Having too many receptacles branching off one GFCI can be a pain if it trips and you need to be running around to other rooms to reset it. Keep them where they are easily accessible or you can also use GFCI breakers at the panel if that is more convenient.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

      First off, Welcome to the forum Moose,
      Lot of people here have really good insight into things.
      On to the GFCI's. Usually GFCI protection is required in an unfinished basement where concrete floor and water pipes might make a circuit (with you in it) complete to ground. The GFCI is there to protect you from that. If you are indeed doing a finished basement with panelling or drywall walls and a floor treatment such as carpet, linoleum, tile, etc. Those items usually indicate that GFCI protection is NOT needed. Because the NEC states for unfinished basement rooms. Now, if you have a moisture problem. If the floor does get wet with water now and again, etc. you might want to go ahead and make sure you have that GFCI protection built in. But if you've got a dry, liveable, usable room that will be occupied, you probably won't need to add the GFCIs. Hope that helps. Also, you might want to check with the building inspector in your municipality to see if they have some quirky rule that might require GFCI protection anyway.
      Cheers,
      Jim Don

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

        Thanks Jim, you have been helpful.

        I am really trying to avoid the use of mini breakers, not sure why. I guess I'm affraid to overload the panel with 150 amp service.

        The panel actually has room for a total of 5 new breakers, one 20 amp dedicated to the bathroom leaving 4 to use for the outlets and lighting. I am being told by friends that in a basement finished or unfinished, there should be 1 gfci and up to 4 additional outlets per breaker. Since normally there can be up to 10 outlets per 20amp breaker, my theory is to have 2 GFCI's to split the load.

        Maybe I should just use 2 mini breakers which will limit each circuit to 1 GFCI and 4 additional outlets = 5 outlets per breaker.

        Any thoughts?

        Thanks,
        Moose

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

          Yes,
          My thought is you're over-thinking this -- no offense. There is nothing at all wrong with using the mini-breakers. I do it all the time when a panel is full and I need to get just one more circuit in there. There is no total limit on the number of receptacles (outlets) per circuit. If this is one big room, use a 20-amp circuit for the outlets and a 15-amp circuit for the lights and be done with it. If you have a lot of special things going into the room (microwave? Refrigerator? home entertainment center? etc. please let us know, because then you've got to have more circuits. But if you're just looking at a living space, some lamps, a few ceiling lights etc. a 20-amp and a 15 -amp should do it. Again, you don't need gfcis in a finished basement room unless you've got something else going here or your local inspector wants to see it. You will need GFCI protection if you are putting a bathroom in the basement too. But you need GFCI protection in any bathroom or kitchen area (or any potentially wet areas like garages , workshops, laundry room, etc.) Hope this makes sense.
          Jim Don

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

            Thanks Jim for your knowledge , you've really helped me out.

            Best Regards,
            Moose

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

              Originally posted by JimDon View Post
              Yes,
              My thought is you're over-thinking this -- no offense. There is nothing at all wrong with using the mini-breakers. I do it all the time when a panel is full and I need to get just one more circuit in there. There is no total limit on the number of receptacles (outlets) per circuit. If this is one big room, use a 20-amp circuit for the outlets and a 15-amp circuit for the lights and be done with it. If you have a lot of special things going into the room (microwave? Refrigerator? home entertainment center? etc. please let us know, because then you've got to have more circuits. But if you're just looking at a living space, some lamps, a few ceiling lights etc. a 20-amp and a 15 -amp should do it. Again, you don't need gfcis in a finished basement room unless you've got something else going here or your local inspector wants to see it. You will need GFCI protection if you are putting a bathroom in the basement too. But you need GFCI protection in any bathroom or kitchen area (or any potentially wet areas like garages , workshops, laundry room, etc.) Hope this makes sense.
              Jim Don

              I don't know what the electrical code in the US is but there is a maximum of 12 devices allowed in a 15 amp residential circuit in Canada unless the circuit has a calculated known load. The outlets in a residential occupancy generally is rated for 15 amps therfore a 20 amp breaker is not allowed unless a t-slot duplex receptacle is use then a 20 amp breaker on a 12 gauge wire is allowed.
              The NEC code is probably not that much different than the Canadian code.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

                Its been a while since anyone posted, but just in case you havent gotten your problem solved, i figured i would take the 2 minutes it takes to offer my opinion:
                Even though it may not be required to use a GFCI in a finished basement, it is often helpful, my coffee maker short circuited and shocked the crap out of me twice before i realized what the problem was. I opened it up and fixed the short but it still kept shocking me. It has happened 7 times now because i had to test if it worked each time i changed something. Keep in mind this is 120 volts a/c at whatever amperage it can draw, there is no regulator on this. So, i decided to install a GFCI so that hopefully wont happen. Basically, my point is: they can still be useful even if not required.
                The concept of a GFCI is to terminate the power flow faster than a breaker can. It accomplishes this by using different parts, and taking less time because it isnt as far as the actual panel. Even though electricity travels very fast, these couple milliseconds can make a life and death difference. Therefore, installing two GFCI units would help by making the outlets closer to the protection.
                I have been electrocuted at least 150 times (ac), about 20 times at dc with a laptop charger, 4 amps and 20 volts. and im only 15. I have noticed that when it happens with my left hand it hurts much more and causes my legs to be weak for a couple hours. the right hand it just stings a little bit and makes me jump. I have also noticed that ac lines are much less painful. I think this may be because the laptop chargers force the amperage for some reason. the ac lines dont force because they dont have any regulatory systems. The chargers have over and under current protection. I have made a habbit of using my right hand to change the status of switches and plug things in.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

                  I would have to say that you are pretty stupid to continue to get shocked fixxing something.
                  Hope you grow up before it is to late!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

                    Sorry bud. I totally agree with JBfan.


                    Also, you obviously have NO clue about how GFIs work and what their function/purpose is.
                    These statements are totally wrong:
                    Originally posted by HSXN View Post
                    The concept of a GFCI is to terminate the power flow faster than a breaker can. It accomplishes this by using different parts, and taking less time because it isnt as far as the actual panel.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

                      Originally posted by HSXN View Post
                      I have been electrocuted at least 150 times (ac), about 20 times at dc with a laptop charger, 4 amps and 20 volts. and im only 15.

                      Electrocution

                      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


                      Jump to: navigation, search


                      "Electrocute" redirects here. For the band, see Electrocute (band). Electrocution is the stopping of life (determined by a stopped heart) by an type of electric shock. In the vernacular, the term electrocution is used to mean:
                      • accidental injury, death, murder or suicide by electric shock
                      • deliberate execution by electric shock, usually involving an electric chair; the word "electrocution" is a portmanteau for "electrical execution"
                      Electrocution is also frequently used to refer to any electric shock received but is technically incorrect. This choice in definition varies from dictionary to dictionary.[1] [2]
                      Death can occur from any shock that carries enough amperage. Small amperages (40 mA - 700 mA) usually trigger fibrillation in the heart which is reversible via defibrillator, but large amperages (> 1 A) cause permanent damage via burns, and cellular damage. The heart is most devastated by foreign electricity, next is the brain.[citation needed] Women are more susceptible to macroshock electrocution than men, but men are equally susceptible to Microshock electrocution.[citation needed]
                      SSG, U.S. Army
                      Retired
                      K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

                        Originally posted by HSXN View Post
                        The concept of a GFCI is to terminate the power flow faster than a breaker can. It accomplishes this by using different parts, and taking less time because it isnt as far as the actual panel. Even though electricity travels very fast, these couple milliseconds can make a life and death difference. Therefore, installing two GFCI units would help by making the outlets closer to the protection.
                        While a GFCI certainly uses different parts than a circuit breaker and milliseconds can, in many circumstances, make a life/death difference, I'm fairly non-plussed with the remainder of the explanation.

                        GFCI = Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt(er). A GFCI is designed to protect human tissue. Circuit Breakers are designed to protect human property.

                        The linear distance between a GFCI and the protected outlets downstream should have a completely negligible (if any whatsoever) effect on how quickly a "trip" occurs. Very basically, the GFCI moniters the current travelling through the hot terminal and the neutral terminal. In theory and in practice there are not many good reasons for a properly functioning appliance or device common to residences to have anything other than the same current coming out as is going in. If there is an imbalance of (usually) 5mA or greater, the GFCI assumes that there is a ground fault and breaks the circuit. It probably would be a speedier trip than a circuit breaker, but it has everything to do with the threshold/method and nothing to do with proximity.

                        A circuit breaker only moniters current. It's entire job is to ensure that the downstream wiring never carries more current than the breaker is rated for. In a worst case scenario, a homeowner could make a series of bad decisions (or an honest accident) and become the neutral terminal, thereby receiving a lot more current than he or she is rated for. If you are not a very efficient conductor you may get 9 Amps indefinitely and the breaker wouldn't really care how uncomfortable or deadly it was so long as the wires were ok.

                        Originally posted by HSXN View Post
                        I have been electrocuted at least 150 times (ac), about 20 times at dc with a laptop charger, 4 amps and 20 volts. and im only 15. I have noticed that when it happens with my left hand it hurts much more and causes my legs to be weak for a couple hours. the right hand it just stings a little bit and makes me jump. I have also noticed that ac lines are much less painful. I think this may be because the laptop chargers force the amperage for some reason. the ac lines dont force because they dont have any regulatory systems. The chargers have over and under current protection. I have made a habbit of using my right hand to change the status of switches and plug things in.
                        I realize that this is very unlikely to be anything but bullsquat, but I probably wouldn't confess to such a serious learning disability.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

                          First off, the only guys that made a bit of sense were Jimboburnsy and HSXN<<<edit: i meant Jimdon, not HSXN. Looked at the wrong username for the post.... Other than that i feel like i just got dumber from reading this post. If you don't have any idea what you are talking about, don't reply. Hopefully the OP took the advice of the guys who actually seemed to know what they were talking about. To the guy who keeps shocking himself and didn't learn from it the first or second time. You're an idiot. As far as updating existing residential outlets, i have always tried to stick somewhere between 6-8 outlets on one circuit. As far as residential general purpose outlets, you can put in as many outlets as you want, but if you only have 1 circuit controlling the 10 outlets on the front of the wall and 1 controlling the 10 on the back, you have to watch what you connect into each circuit so as to not overload the 1 circuit by just using the outlets on one wall and trip it out frequently. If i were adding 20 outlets in my basement, i would pull 2 or 3 circuits, depending on their use and maybe even alternate feeds to the outlets to provide different circuits at different points throughout the room. As far as the locations gfci's are required in, look at nec article 210.8 (gfci protection for personnel) and in your case it seems that the gfci requirements in unfinished basements and crawlspaces would apply. As far as the number of outlets on the load side of a gfci i usually wire a max of 6. Look how many "protected by" stickers you get in a gfci box. (In a pass and seymour gfci box there are 6). Once again this is my preference. The operational concept of the gfci jimboburnsy had right, it monitors the current between the neutral and hot wire and if there is an imbalance of 4-6 mA, it will trip out. Wiring a gfci downstream of the other will not work, the second gfci will usually cause the first to trip out. You can, however parallel the gfci's. Parallel meaning set a box and bring your feed from the panel into it, then branch out of the box with two runs, one of each supplying a gfci. Then come off the load side and supply the outlets you want. Hope i covered all my bases... it's my first post and almost 2am and i'm tired. Just had to add my .02 to the crazy in here.......
                          Last edited by Raydaniel13; 10-27-2009, 10:55 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

                            Originally posted by Raydaniel13 View Post
                            First off, the only guys that made a bit of sense were <Jimboburnsy and> HSXN.
                            I agree about Jimboburnsy, but HSXN???



                            Originally posted by Raydaniel13 View Post
                            Other than that i feel like i just got dumber from reading this post. If you don't have any idea what you are talking about, don't reply.
                            Pretty ballsy for a first post.



                            Originally posted by Raydaniel13 View Post
                            Hopefully the OP took the advice of the guys who actually seemed to know what they were talking about. To the guy who keeps shocking himself and didn't learn from it the first or second time. You're an idiot.
                            That would be HSXN. You have to remember, he's only 15.




                            Originally posted by Raydaniel13 View Post
                            Wiring a gfci downstream of the other will not work, the second gfci will usually cause the first to trip out.
                            This is completely untrue.
                            Sure, it is not a good wiring design, but one GFI will NOT trip the other.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 2 GFCI per 20amp circuit?

                              This thread is making me want to barf again.

                              There is nothing wrong with connecting a 20 Amp GFCI receptacle so power from it feeds a second 20 Amp receptacle. With that said you should not connect up a GFCI receptacle so it feeds another GFCI receptacle. You can have several GFCI receptacles on the same circuit, but just don't series connect them. In the last case each would trip and have no effect on the others.

                              NOTE: Wording of this post is messed up. Please see later post.
                              Last edited by Woussko; 10-29-2009, 01:55 PM.

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