Wiring a GFCI Outlet the Easy Way

If you are installing a dishwasher or other electrical appliance in your kitchen, you may need a GFCI. This type of outlet protects you in case it is exposed to water. If you need a GFCI where a current duplex outlet is located, follow these steps for wiring a new duplex.

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) are a special type of outlet that shut off power to an outlet if they detect a change in current. Most people have a GFCI duplex outlet in their kitchen and bath, easily identified by the reset button.

The GFCI is designed to prevent electrical shocks, so they are particularly important for exterior outlets, as well as anyplace water may be present. If you do not have this type of outlet in the kitchen and bath of your home, think about replacing regular duplex outlets with GFCI duplexes.

Before beginning the wiring you must flip the switch at the main circuit breaker to turn the power off at the area you will be working. Check the connections with a voltage tester to be sure there is no current running through the duplex outlet.

Remove the faceplate by removing the center screw. Then remove the old duplex electrical outlet by removing the top and bottom screws that attach it to the electrical box. You must also take apart the wires.

If the wiring in your house was done recently, you should be able to easily twist off the wire nut holding them in place and part the wires. If you have older wiring, there may be electrical tape at the connections; remove it.

Wiring the new GFCI is straightforward: begin by attaching the white wire where it says white line. Tighten the screw down to secure the connection.

Next attach the black wire (also called a hot wire) to the terminal with the brass screw. Again, tighten the screw to complete the connection. Finally, you should attach the ground wire (a bare copper wire) to ground terminal.

Now that the wiring is complete, carefully fold them and place the duplex GFCI back into the electrical box. You should then attach the duplex outlet by screwing into the electrical box at the top and bottom.

With the duplex in place, you should reattach the faceplate and turn back on the electricity to that area of the house. You can then test your wiring job with a voltage tester. If the GFCI is functioning properly, plug in your appliances and use the outlet like any other.

Installing a GFCI is an easy job, but only if you have some basic knowledge of electricity and how it works within your home. If you’re not sure how to locate your main circuit box, or are unsure of how to operate a voltage tester, call a handyman to do the wiring.

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