GFCI Wiring Question

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Martina

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Hello, everyone!

I was mapping our exterior home circuit today to see about adding additional outlets and came across and unfamiliar wiring scenario that I’d like to get some clarification on. The entire 20-amp circuit consists of six receptacles (one GFCI located inside our garage and five standard outlets distributed along the exterior of our home). The 12-gauge wire runs from the main panel directly to the GFCI, making it the first in line, which I know is correct. However, to my surprise it appears that from the GFCI, the circuit branches off in two directions (see attached drawing). I was always under the impression that the GFCI is the first in line and from there, everything proceeds down-circuit in a single direction. Based on what I’ve found in the attic, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I have a total of three 12-gauge wires running through the top plate- one that runs from the main panel to the GFCI, the second one feeds an exterior outlet on the southside of our home and the third one travels to an exterior outlet on the eastside. Is this an acceptable wiring method?

Thanks in advance for any forthcoming responses.

Martina
 

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wwhitney

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That's fine. Electrically, there's little difference between one daisy chain downstream of the GFCI, and two daisy chains.

Physically, a single daisy chain could be connected with the two conductor cable going to the first downstream receptacle terminated directly to the GFCI LOAD terminals. Since the GFCI LOAD terminals each accept up to 2 conductors typically, you can supply two separate daisy chains without requiring any pigtails or extra connectors (e.g. wire nuts). If you exceed 2 daisy chains supplied, you'd need pigtails and extra connectors, but if your box is big enough to satisfy the box fill requirements, you could supply as many cables as you like.

Cheers, Wayne
 

Martina

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That's fine. Electrically, there's little difference between one daisy chain downstream of the GFCI, and two daisy chains.

Physically, a single daisy chain could be connected with the two conductor cable going to the first downstream receptacle terminated directly to the GFCI LOAD terminals. Since the GFCI LOAD terminals each accept up to 2 conductors typically, you can supply two separate daisy chains without requiring any pigtails or extra connectors (e.g. wire nuts). If you exceed 2 daisy chains supplied, you'd need pigtails and extra connectors, but if your box is big enough to satisfy the box fill requirements, you could supply as many cables as you like.

Cheers, Wayne
Thank you for your prompt reply and all the additional information! Always learning something new. :)

Have a great week, Wayne!
 

Reach4

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With 1 GFCI feeding 5 outdoor outlets, I would think there could be a fair amount of trips in rainy weather. Check the covers on outdoor outlets to make sure they are not going to leak.

At least you are not in the highest humidity part of the state.
 

Martina

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With 1 GFCI feeding 5 outdoor outlets, I would think there could be a fair amount of trips in rainy weather. Check the covers on outdoor outlets to make sure they are not going to leak.

At least you are not in the highest humidity part of the state.
Great point as we did experience issues with tripping in the past, especially during the winter. I have since installed bubble covers on all the exterior outlets and things have been quiet since then.

Thanks for your input!

Martina
 
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