08:53AM | 10/16/02
Member Since: 10/15/02
8 lifetime posts
I have a house that was built in the 50's which of course has no ground wiring. I have upgraded some of the outlets to GFCI outlets to provide some safety and so I can use 3 prong plugins. I am planning on upgrading my Fuse box to a modern Breaker box in the next few months. I have read that you can add a Circuit breaker GFCI to your breaker box. Does it make any sence to add a GFCI circuit breaker to the box if I already am protected with the GFCI outlets? Would it conflict with the outlets that are allready installed? Will it provide more safety?


Electrical Inspector

10:56AM | 10/16/02
Member Since: 09/27/02
73 lifetime posts

I have read that you can add a Circuit breaker GFCI to your breaker box.

yes, most panel manufacture's have GFI breakers available

Does it make any sence to add a GFCI circuit breaker to the box if I already am protected with the GFCI outlets?

It will then protect the circuit itself, which the plain GFI receptacles cannot do

Would it conflict with the outlets that are allready installed? Will it provide more safety?

It will not conflict, however , there is the possiblity of 'nusaince tripping' here.
For instance, if you were to have one of the newer gas ranges receptacle ( for the ignitor) served via GFI it would trip it.

There are also dimmers, as well as other electrical devices that may conflict with the 4-6 ma trip rating of a GFI.

Perhaps you should inquire of your local tradesmen about the new AFCI , and get thier take on your situation .


08:59AM | 10/17/02
Member Since: 10/15/02
359 lifetime posts
The main panel GFCI breakers are good if you are doing new wiring, or want to protect the entire circuit, the outlet units are if you just need to protect the bathroom outlet(s). If your bathroom is already protected, then you dont need to put in a GFCI for that circuit. If you plan to put in a whirlpool tub, then you will need a dedicated GFCI for that one outlet.

The other type of protection device isnt made to protect the bathroom, it is to protect the circuit from bad devices, or errant drill or saw blades. Say you have a light that has a damaged cord, the breaker will protect against that. National code now requires every bedroom circuit be protected by an Arc Fault device and all bathrooms and outlets near water, such as a kitchen or laundry area be protected by GFCI.

Here is what the 2 devices do; The AFI is a UL listed circuit breaker which is also classified for mitigating the effects of arcing faults. It protects from arcs between current carrying conductors above 75A (Square D AFI protects from arcs above 50A), and leakage to ground above 30mA.

The GFI is a UL listed circuit breaker which is classified for interrupting the circuit when more than 6mA of ground-fault leakage is detected.

In other words, the arc fault device wont protect against water hazards like the GFCI will, but the GFCI is too sensitve to protect against frayed light cords.


04:20PM | 10/18/02
Member Since: 11/05/01
98 lifetime posts
Is this turning into an arc fault discussion? This 50's wiring what type is it? I am guessing some type of sheathed electrical cable with no ground as thats what I commonly see for that time. You would be better served perhaps to update some of the wiring after you get service done. Kitchen ciruits, bath receptacles, air conditioner receptacles, and such. I wouldn't spend the extra money on GFCI breakers for some of the reasons stated above. (Less control of what specific loads you are protecting)

[This message has been edited by electricmanscott (edited October 18, 2002).]

Electrical Inspector

01:04PM | 10/19/02
Member Since: 09/27/02
73 lifetime posts
point taken E-scott.

what would i tell a potential customer?

exactly what you allude to....

1)update the service

2)install new branch circuitry for those dedicated loads

3)lessen the lodas on any older circuitry, either via splitting up older circuits into 2-3 and/or derating those older 20A circuits to 15A

4)then, and only then, research options for said remaining older ciruitry.
One should not advocate AFCI's or GFCI's for the 'bandaid' approach......


05:05AM | 10/21/02
Member Since: 10/15/02
8 lifetime posts
Thanks for everyones help. I have decided to bring in a pro to install a new breaker box for me. I will install GFCI outlets where needed and AFCI breakers.
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