How Do You Install a GFCI Outlet?


Quick Answer

To install, a GFCI outlet, turn off the power to the affected room at the circuit box, take out the existing outlet, identify and connect the line wires, followed by the load wires. Put the GFCI into the wall box, and put the wall plate over the outlet.

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Full Answer

  1. Prepare for the installation

    Go to the circuit box, and turn off the power to the room where the GFCI outlet should go. Test different circuit switches if the room is not labeled with the circuits, or turn the power to the entire house off to eliminate the possibility of electrocution. Slide a tester into the old outlet to make sure the power is off. Take out the mounting screws for the existing outlet, and pull it out of the wall box. Label the white and black wires on the Load and Line terminals if the old outlet is also a GFCI, and then unhook the wires.

  2. Prepare the wires for the new GFCI

    Straighten out the wires coming from the new GFCI, cutting as needed. Use a wire stripper to take off 3/4 inch of insulation, revealing the copper conductor beneath. Extend the wires from the wall box, angling them so that they cannot touch. Turn the power back on, and contact the black probe from your tester with the copper ground wire or the metal box. Touch the red probe from the tester to each black wire until the tester indicates a line by lighting up. Remember to connect this wire to the Line brass screw terminal. Leave the red probe on that wire, and touch the black probe to all of the white wires until the tester lights up again. Remember to connect this to the Line silver screw terminal. Turn the power back off.

  3. Connect the wires and install the GFCI

    Unscrew each terminal screw on the new GFCI until they become tough to turn. Connect the wires you marked to the brass and silver screws, and tighten the screws. Connect any second black wire to the brass Load terminal and any second white wire to the silver Load terminal. Connect the copper ground wire to the green ground screw. Link multiple copper ground wires with a copper pigtail, attach with a wire nut and then connect the loose end of the pigtail to the green screw. Bend the wires gently, and slide the GFCI into the wall box. Tighten the GFCI's mounting screws, and then attach the wall plate.

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