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Is it possible to use a GFCI outlet in place of an older two-wire outlet?


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2011-06-26 21:17:58
2011-06-26 21:17:58

Answer for USA, Canada and countries running a 60 Hz supply service.

Your question is, "Is it possible?" And yes, it is. It would work just fine as a 2 wire outlet. It will even provide GFCI protection, contrary to what many people believe.

However, it is a violation of code and highly ill advised to do so. Code requires that when replacing any 2 wire outlet that it be upgraded to a 3 wire circuit. I know hardware stores still sell 2 wire outlets but that is beside the point. The third wire, the ground wire, is there for your protection, or it should be installed. There is no way to properly install a 3 wire outlet, GFCI or not, on a 2 wire circuit.

The national Electric Code allows the replacement of two wire receptacles with three wire GFCI outlets refer to NEC section 406.4 for more clarity on the subject.


As always, if you are in doubt about what to do, the best advice anyone should give you is to call a licensed electrician to advise what work is needed.

Before you do any work yourself,

on electrical circuits, equipment or appliances,

always use a test meter to ensure the circuit is, in fact, de-energized.





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