GFCI outlets, installed in our homes, protect us from getting a shock due to water collected inside or outside our homes.
Taking the example of any working area like a parking place for instance where there is a possibility of the electric wiring affected by the rainwater, can cause ground faults. These ground faults lead to electrical issues in other areas of the house that can be hazardous.
Thus, the GFCI outlet does the job of protecting us from such types of high voltage surges.
GFCI Outlet with 4 Wires
GFCI outlet with four wires comes with two black and two white wires in addition to the main ground wire.
Before making the connections of the GFCI outlet with 4 wires, we need to determine first which pair of black and white wires among the two will be used for line and load.
We have to determine separate pairs of black and white wires individually as any wrong connection made due to less understanding would make the GFCI outlet useless.
It’ll act as fault outlets that will have still power flowing through it even when it gets tripped. Labels on the pairs of wires can help us identify that, so before making the connections do check them first.
Line and load side of GFCI receptacle:
The power feed line is connected to the line side of the GFCI receptacle for supplying power to the device. On the other hand, load side of the GFCI receptacles for supplying power through GFCI or to feed other devices whom GFCI is giving protection from ground faults.
Wiring a GFCI outlet with 4 wires
In order to install a GFCI outlet with 4 wires, we’ve to follow the steps explained below. The process may seem a bit complex but go step-by-step to have your GFCI outlet with 4 wires wired rightly in no time.
Steps to install a GFCI with 4 wires:
- Firstly, before doing anything else, turn off the power from the circuit breaker. This will cut off the power supply to your whole home but if you are installing the GFCI only in one room then do turn off the breaker of only that room. It prevents shock during the installation process.
- After turning off the power supply, go to your electrical outlet box and remove the cover plate with the help of a screwdriver. Now, you will see a tangle of plenty of wires.
- In our electrical outlet box, there are some receptacles that need to be configured to be switched. Some extra wires would be there the which we have to identify for installing the GFCI with 4 wires.
- Search for the scenario where one outlet is not switched and the other is switched. This type of receptacle is called a “half-switched” receptacle. Take a 4 wire GFCI and identify which one is the supply cable. You can take the help of various contact and non-contact meters for this.
- Separate the one neutral wire which is white and one hot wire which is black. After identifying, place a wire cap on them.
- Put back the receptacle into the electrical box, and turn on the power from the main breaker box.
- Now make sure that power is coming to the receptacle. The lines which we have capped earlier are power lines. Verify this again with the help of the tester that these are the power-supplying wires.
- Now turn off again the power from the main panel and take the receptacle out of the panel. Label your capped wires as power line wires and the other two wires as load wires.
- Now connect the white wire of your pair of wires labeled as power line wires to the line terminal of GFCI which has a silver color. Carefully check your connection again by reading the label of the line mentioned on GFCI.
- Similarly, attach the black wire of your power line pair of wires we labeled earlier to the “hot” terminal of the “line” section of GFCI. Again check the label of the hot terminal in the line section of GFCI and make sure that we made the connection correct.
- Receptacles usually have a yellow sticker on their load terminals in the breaker box. Remove that sticker as now you have to connect these load terminals.
- The load side of the receptacles has one white and one black wire identified earlier. Connect the white wire of the load side of the receptacle to the load terminal of the GFCI having silver color and black wire to the hot load terminal of the GFCI.
- Now identify the ground wires in the outlet and connect them to the screw of GFCI which is green in color and has a ground label on it.
Carefully arrange your wires and make sure no connection is loose and insert everything into the breaker box. Also, make sure that the no-load terminal or any other power line is not touching the grounding wires. Now finally attach the cover of the panel. This is how you can install the GFCI outlet with 4 wires successfully.
This is how you can install a GFCI outlet with 4 wires. The process may seem a bit complicated. But, if you go step-by-step, you would be able to do this in no more than 15 minutes. Still, if you think it can give you a tough time, consider hiring an electrician. It’ll save you from any unexpected harm.