How to Install a GFCI

How to Install a GFCI

Learn how to replace old unsafe electrical receptacles with GFCI devices around the house. Follow these step-by-step directions with the tools and materials you need to do the job like a pro.



 How to Install a GFCI

How to Install a GFCI

Learn how to replace old unsafe electrical receptacles with GFCI devices around the house. Follow these step-by-step directions with the tools and materials you need to do the job like a pro.

 How to Install a GFCI

How to Install a GFCI

Learn how to replace old unsafe electrical receptacles with GFCI devices around the house. Follow these step-by-step directions with the tools and materials you need to do the job like a pro.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required

  • Voltage tester
  • Screwdriver
  • Long nose pliers

Materials Required

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
  • Paper or masking tape

Tools Required

  • Voltage tester
  • Screwdriver
  • Long nose pliers

Materials Required

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
  • Paper or masking tape
  • Step 1 : Turn off power

    To begin replacing a kitchen outlet with a GFCI, turn off the power to the kitchen at the main circuit panel or fuse box. Insert the probes of a voltage tester into both slots of the outlet. If the neon tube doesn't light, the power is off.

  • Step 2 : Remove the old duplex outlet

    Remove the old duplex outlet Unscrew the switchplate cover of the outlet. Then unscrew the outlet from the existing cable inside the receptacle outlet box. Uncoil and disconnect the wires from the back of the outlet and remove it. Take a close look at how the wires are attached to the outlet.

    Remove the old duplex outlet

    If the outlet is at the end of the circuit it will have a single pair of black and white and green or bare wires attached to it. If it is in the middle of the circuit it will have two sets of black and white wires attached. Make a sketch on a piece of paper to mark the location of the wires or tape masking tape to the wires to identify them. Use a screwdriver to disconnect the wires from the back of the outlet and remove it.

  • Step 3 : Inspect the GFCI

    Inspect the GFCI

    Take a look at the back of the GFCI device. You see two pairs of screw terminals and a ground terminal. One pair is marked "Load" and the other "Line". There is also a green grounding screw terminal. The GFCI can be wired in two ways. If the old receptacle had a single pair of black, white and green or bare copper wire attached to it, the receptacle is wired to the end of the circuit. If the old receptacle has two pairs of black and white wires, it is not at the end of the circuit and the second set of black and white wires supplies power to other receptacles.

  • Step 4 : Attach wires

    To wire the GFCI at the end of the circuit use a long nose pliers to bend the exposed end of the white, black and green or bare wire into a loop. Then wind the loop of the black wire clockwise around the screw terminal marked "Line/Hot" and tighten the screw. Do the same with the white wire, but place it on the "Line/White" screw terminal.

    To wire the GFCI to supply other receptacles with power, install the set of black and white wires coming from the service panel to the set of black and white terminals marked "Line". Install the second set of black and white wires to the black and white screw terminals market "Load".

  • Step 5 : Connect the bare wire to the grounding screw

    Carefully wrap the bare copper wire around the green grounding screw in a clockwise direction and tighten it. Then tuck the wires into the box and fasten the device at the top and bottom with the screws provided. Install the cover plate.

  • Step 6 : Test the device

    To check that the device is working, press the "test" button. The outlet should be dead. Press "reset" and the power goes on.

HA Get Pro Help