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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi guys. i just got my contractor license for small jobs in arizona. Im doing just basic handyman work and im learning as i go. I changed out a bunch of old switches and outlets in a house that was built in 1978. everything was pretty easy except a 3way switch (thank god i had a wiring book) that took like 2 hours to figure out, and a GFCI that i just couldnt get installed...... maybe some of u experienced peeps can give me a word or 2 on this issue. heres the scoop.

the bathrooms are obviously gfci protected. that one was an easy swap. but the kitchen holds a mystery that stumped me. I know that in new homes the kitchen must be GFCI protected. i dont know what the rule was in 1978 but there doesnt seem to be anything in the kitchen. so i found the homerun outlet with all the wires and put one in,, well it wouldnt work. so i really started to take a good look at everything. and i started to think maybe it is protected in some other way because of this..... in the breaker box there is a 20 amp breaker for the kitchen area im trying to put the gfci on, but theres no return wire! the romex for this breaker is accually one red and one black wire. the kitchen breaker had the red one, and another 20 amp breaker had the other. i was lost as to how one double hot romex could run 2 breakers with no obvious return.
now.... in the receptical box in the kitchen heres what i saw. one red wire nutted to one black. then a bunch of black with a wire nut and a bunch of white with a wire nut. my reader found one black to be hot (line) and the rest where loads. I really couldnt figure out witch return wire was the line one, and well, i couldnt get the gfi to work through much trial and error.

any education on this would be awsome because my how to books dont cover this particular issue.

thanks a bunch!
-Dustin in the desert-
:thumbsup:
 

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Service & Repairs
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The best advice would be to sub out an electrician.

Believe it or not this is more complicated to a non-electrician than you would ever believe.

You have a multiwire branch circuit where two "hots" share a common neutral.
 

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Having a common neutral should make running a GFI to just one of the circuits impossible from just a home run outlet or from the circuit breaker, right? But, putting a GFI outlet in every required kitchen outlet should work, right?
 

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Fentoozler
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Having a common neutral should make running a GFI to just one of the circuits impossible from just a home run outlet or from the circuit breaker, right? But, putting a GFI outlet in every required kitchen outlet should work, right?
That would the only way to make it work.....unless....12/2 was branched out from the JB with the 12/3 HR in it....and the splicing was made up correctly....and, of course, line/load connections were correct.
 

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That would the only way to make it work.....unless....12/2 was branched out from the JB with the 12/3 HR in it....and the splicing was made up correctly....and, of course, line/load connections were correct.
Then the two circuits wouldn't share a neutral on the load side of the JB?

Seems like OP tested the GFI and it didn't work this way so it probably isn't wired this way.
 

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Fentoozler
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Then the two circuits wouldn't share a neutral on the load side of the JB?
The 12/3 would be separated before the first device.
It would till be a MWBC, but you would be able to reduce the number of GFI devices needed to operate the circuit properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The best advice would be to sub out an electrician.

Believe it or not this is more complicated to a non-electrician than you would ever believe.

You have a multiwire branch circuit where two "hots" share a common neutral.

i have a good understanding of how complicated it is and my education level is increasing with electricity every day. but ty for the advise.

do you happen to have any references on building code for gfci protection for that era? also what is the purpose of sharing a common nuetral? is a gfci possible or even wanted in this situation?

thanks again :thumbup:
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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.....except a 3way switch (thank god i had a wiring book) that took like 2 hours to figure out, and a GFCI that i just couldnt get installed...............
Right there just paid for an electrician.
 

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EMF, PLC specialist
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46 Posts
a GFCI that i just couldnt get installed...... maybe some of u experienced peeps can give me a word or 2 on this issue. heres the scoop.:thumbsup:
Not to worry I didn't know anything about GFCI till 480sparky taught me 2 weeks ago but that didn't stop me from making money in this trade. Afterall, as electrician, it's not how much you know but rather how much money you make.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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Not to worry I didn't know anything about GFCI till 480sparky taught me 2 weeks ago but that didn't stop me from making money in this trade. Afterall, as electrician, it's not how much you know but rather how much money you make.
Damn skippy. As long as you can fake or feel your way through it you'll do fine....right? :whistling

Why do think all those DIY books are out there? For home owners? Nah.
They are so handymen can learn just enough to be dangerous and go out there and undercut us way over priced real electricians. Shoot, it's just a few "plugs and switches". :rolleyes:
 

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Pompass Ass
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2,090 Posts
hi guys. i just got my contractor license for small jobs in arizona. Im doing just basic handyman work and im learning as i go. I changed out a bunch of old switches and outlets in a house that was built in 1978. everything was pretty easy except a 3way switch (thank god i had a wiring book) that took like 2 hours to figure out, and a GFCI that i just couldnt get installed...... maybe some of u experienced peeps can give me a word or 2 on this issue. heres the scoop.

the bathrooms are obviously gfci protected. that one was an easy swap. but the kitchen holds a mystery that stumped me. I know that in new homes the kitchen must be GFCI protected. i dont know what the rule was in 1978 but there doesnt seem to be anything in the kitchen. so i found the homerun outlet with all the wires and put one in,, well it wouldnt work. so i really started to take a good look at everything. and i started to think maybe it is protected in some other way because of this..... in the breaker box there is a 20 amp breaker for the kitchen area im trying to put the gfci on, but theres no return wire! the romex for this breaker is accually one red and one black wire. the kitchen breaker had the red one, and another 20 amp breaker had the other. i was lost as to how one double hot romex could run 2 breakers with no obvious return.
now.... in the receptical box in the kitchen heres what i saw. one red wire nutted to one black. then a bunch of black with a wire nut and a bunch of white with a wire nut. my reader found one black to be hot (line) and the rest where loads. I really couldnt figure out witch return wire was the line one, and well, i couldnt get the gfi to work through much trial and error.

any education on this would be awsome because my how to books dont cover this particular issue.

thanks a bunch!
-Dustin in the desert-
:thumbsup:
If you have to go on a forum to ask questions about a GFCI, you should not be working on one in your own house, let alone a clients.

How can you legally do electrical work if you can't figure out how to install a GFCI?
 

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Pompass Ass
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2,090 Posts
Not every State has licensing req's.
Guys like this are why licenses should be required, especially electical, general. A/C and plumbing.

To let a guy do some painting or flooring without a license is one thing, but the public needs to be protected against people who are wannabee's doing work that can cause life safety issues.
 

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EMF, PLC specialist
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46 Posts
Damn skippy. As long as you can fake or feel your way through it you'll do fine....right? :whistling

Why do think all those DIY books are out there? For home owners? Nah.
They are so handymen can learn just enough to be dangerous and go out there and undercut us way over priced real electricians. Shoot, it's just a few "plugs and switches". :rolleyes:
Relax my friend I'm simply telling him that's OK he'll learn sooner or later. I'm myself have more than 20 yrs on both residential, commercial and a touch of industrial. If someone like me still learning then he's nothing to worry about. Just take it easy. You contributed almost 1,900 posts here but I see mostly venting out your anger. Tell me how are things in NY? Nice weather? Paying your bills on time?
I'm here learning how to pave the cement and proper way to install drywall and everything else. I got my own employees to yell at during weekday.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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2,411 Posts
Softy, I was agreeing you, in a way. :thumbsup:

The "damn skippy" was a "you're right", not a "Damn, Skippy".

Now though I see what you were saying and I am not sure I agree so much.
 
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