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#190517 - 11/21/09 04:11 PM GFCI Circuit Breaker Use  
KJay  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
This seems like it should be a no brainer, but I have to ask for clarification.
Would using a single-pole GFCI circuit breaker to protect a circuit with 120V, two-wire non-grounding receptacles be a violation?... Or possibly three-wire receptacles with no equipment-grounding conductor?
It seems like it should be okay, knowing that GFCI donít require a grounding conductor to operate, but I find it odd that 406.3[D],3 specifies using GFCI receptacles as replacements for two-wire receptacles and also allows three-wire receptacles with no equipment ground downstream, but I canít seem to find any written indication elsewhere in the NEC that a GFCI cb could be used for this purpose.
I have looked through the listed instructions included with the Siemens, C/H, T&B, SQD QO and Homeline GFCI cbís that I stock and noticed that they all show only connection diagrams utilizing a three wire branch circuit, so Iím not sure how 110.3[B] would play into this.
I also noticed that none of them come with the "no equipment ground" decals included with GFCI receptacles either.
I have done a quick scan through the 2009 UL White Book under "Molded Case Circuit Breakers/GFCI", but so far have not found anything that specifies using them for this purpose.
I suppose if nothing else, it could be said that these are two different types of installations and that unless the NEC explicitly states not to do so, then it would be allowed?

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#190518 - 11/21/09 05:00 PM Re: GFCI Circuit Breaker Use [Re: KJay]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Well, 403D3c does say that a non-grounded receptacle can be replaced, etc., where 'supplied by a ground fault circuit interrupter.' The word 'receptacle' is not to be found there. I take that to mean a GFCI breaker would be allowed.

This better be what the code panel intended. After all, many pre-1960 installations use boxes that are not large enough to accept a GFCI (OK, the device fits, as long as there are no wires in the box), and joined with soldered connections and no pigtails. If you've upgraded the service, using a GFCI breaker avoides all these issues.

In other situations ... the 2-prong receptacle at the base of the bathroom light is an example .... using a breaker is the only ready way to add GFCI protection.

#190520 - 11/21/09 08:30 PM Re: GFCI Circuit Breaker Use [Re: renosteinke]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,136
Yup if you protected all the circuits with GFCI breakers you could put 5-15s everywhere.
Whether the lack of ground will adversely affect attached equipment is the source of many fist fights wink

Greg Fretwell

#190578 - 11/24/09 08:28 PM Re: GFCI Circuit Breaker Use [Re: gfretwell]  
KJay  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
Yes... sometimes itís funny how we just do things like this for years without actually thinking about it anymore, but when we try to find the where and why... itís as if the original information is long since lost.

Iím currently working on the house from hell, which is a circa 1900 farmhouse that must have been built by Satan himself. The oddball way the rooms are cut up along with willy-nilly cross blocking within the walls is resulting in much demolition. Plaster & lath ceilings covered over with furring strips and drywall are not helping either.
I have finally isolated and disconnected the last K&T circuit in the building, but the owner doesnít want to follow through with replacing all the old cloth two-wire ungrounded NM and two-wire receptacles that were added probably six decade ago, so it will stay as is.

Iím just going to AFCI these rooms on the second floor and be done with it.
Iíve rewired dozens of homes like these over the years, but this one has been the absolute worst. sick

#190579 - 11/24/09 08:37 PM Re: GFCI Circuit Breaker Use [Re: KJay]  
leland  Offline
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
Lowell area, Ma. USA
Iíve rewired dozens of homes like these over the years, but this one has been the absolute worst. sick

Yep! I had 1 Recessed to do once: figured 1.5-2 hrs on site.

3 hrs later!! after false ceiling x 2 then hitting the original 4x4 timber 4.5" above the other 2....AAARRGG!

AFCI should be fine. But you still will need GFCI receps. per ckt. I would think.

#190585 - 11/24/09 11:27 PM Re: GFCI Circuit Breaker Use [Re: KJay]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,136
What brand panel did you end up with? Cuttler Hammer has a GFCI/AFCI breaker that kills both birds with one rock.

Greg Fretwell

#190594 - 11/25/09 07:23 PM Re: GFCI Circuit Breaker Use [Re: gfretwell]  
KJay  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
I donít believe I will need the GFCI's now, since all I am doing is pulling a new feed to the areas that were previously tapped off of the last remaining K&T circuit.
Iím going to put a 3-wire TR receptacle in the first box where the feed enters and then just leave the existing two-wire NM and two-wire receptacles down stream, per the HOís request.
The circuit will be protected with an AFCI as now required for these areas, but that will probably be about it, since this is the last leg of a major remodel and the additional work was an unexpected hemorrhage for the HOís budget.
So, all in all, probably not ideal, but still a lot better than what it was.

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