GFCI outlet AND breaker?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by hans_idle, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. hans_idle

    hans_idle New Member

    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I'm working through my master bath remodel. The previous whirlpool was on a 120V GFCI breaker. The same circuit also powers the bathroom fan. The new airbath tub runs on the same voltage, so I can re-use the same circuit.

    Whereas the old tub was hardwired to the electrical service, the new tub comes with 3-prong plugs for the turbine. I figured I'd install an outlet under the tub (which is accessible by a hatch) to plug the turbine/heater into.

    The question I had was whether or not I could/should use a GFCI outlet given that there is a GFCI breaker. I had heard that you shouldn't hook multiple GFCI outlets on the same line, but I don't know about an outlet and a breaker.

    Is the combination necessary, not necessary, illegal, overkill, etc.?

    My primary reason for having the GFCI local was so that the reset was local to the tub. But since the fan was also on the outlet, I figured maybe I should keep the breaker in place for the whole circuit.

    Thanks for any advice.

    -Hans
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky In the Trades

    Messages:
    149
    Who's to say which GFI will trip in a fault condition? It's a 50-50 chance the one in the panel will trip, so you're back to getting dried & dressed to go reset it.

    Why not just replace the GFI breaker with a standard one?
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    There is no advantage to having two devices in series. Me, I'd leave the breaker and replace the outlet. Having to remove a panel is more work than checking the breaker. It should only trip on a fault, and that shouldn't happen often. If it is behind a panel, you are also much less likely to test it as the instructions say you should monthly, too.
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina

    So if you are in a tub and it trips out are you saying to get out and reset it and then without future ado just jump back in?

    Wonder what caused it to trip?
    Would it be safe to just jump back in?
  5. hans_idle

    hans_idle New Member

    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Good points. I'm thinking that I'll just keep the breaker in place since the bathroom fan is also on it. It's outside the shower by about 2 feet on the ceiling, but it should stay on a GFCI line.

    My only "real" concern was seeing that some people had posted that the inspector wanted to see a reset switch "nearby", whereas in my case you'll have to trudge into the basement. I'll just have to see what the inspector says.

    Thanks!
  6. rdtompki

    rdtompki New Member

    Messages:
    115
    Location:
    Iowa
    Your fan doesn't have to be on a GFCI breaker and some brands of fans can cause false trips. Go ahead and leave it on, however, if you've had no problem to date unless the inspector wants to see the tub on a separate breaker. Often the directions for the tub will specify a separate breaker.

    Rick
  7. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I wouldn't worry much about what any inspector "wants" and only concern myself about what is required and nothing requires the reset to be close by the appliance.
  8. hans_idle

    hans_idle New Member

    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Actually, in this case, both the previous and new tub manufacturer want the tub to be on its own circuit. Since the previous tub was actually sharing a circuit with the fan, I was going to keep it that way. It's a 20A line, with the tub (turbine and heater) drawing 1600W. So it seemed like there was capacity for the fan.

    Any other reasons (besides capacity) as to why the 2 can't be on the same circuit?
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