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alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

Most "acceptable" way to go from MBCW recetacle to GFC

Something I've been procrastinating on too long is replacing the two kitchen counter receptacles on the sides of the sink with GFCI receptacles.

Just as I got motivated enough (and had left over GFCIs from the basement reno), I remembered these are MBCW receptacles (15A).

Aside from pulling new 20A wires (not gonna happen), I can simply make one receptacle use one leg and the other receptacle use the other leg, but then I wouldn't be following the code regarding kitchen counter receptacles.

Am I forgetting an option or should I just overlook the code made for convenience in order to add safety?


Hahausuck
Premium
join:2003-12-14
kudos:2

Re: Most "acceptable" way to go from MBCW recetacle to

Why would you overlook code? Codes are there for a reason.



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by Hahausuck:

Why would you overlook code? Codes are there for a reason.

Because the reason my kitchen has non GFCI MBCW receptacles next to the sink is that the code back in 1964 didn't require GFCI.

I could just let the grandfathered installation run as is and I wouldn't be breaking the code. However I'd rather break the code made for convenience in order to add safety, than forgo safety only because I am allowed.

I have the option to use a 2-pole GFCI breaker, but then the whole point of MBCW kitchen receptacles would be lost. A 2-pole GFCI breaker would make me run to the basement to reset the breaker way more often than a 15A non MBCW kitchen receptacle.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to alkizmo

You can do MWBC to the first box, in the first box, put 2 GFCI outlets, then do 2 * 12/2 cable between all the other boxes. You could also use 12/4 and illegally (under >~2000 NEC) remark one of the hots as a white. I've heard 12/2/2 NM is also made but I think that is even more rare than 12/4 NM. Your other choice is a 2 pole GFCI breaker. But they are very expensive. For example, for a THQL2120GF1, is $100, but for $60 at HD, you can get a 50 or 60 amp GFCI breaker in a "Midwest" (GE subsidiary) "spa panel". Obviously you can't put 20 amp outlets on it (50 or 60 amp breaker), but with a little bit of unconventional wiring, you can move the GFCI breaker to the main panel (assuming you have a GE main panel), then fill the spa panel with 15 or 20 amp THQP breakers, all GFCI protected. Someone will come and say it is dangerous to put half a dozen circuits on 1 5ma GFCI protector since the the GFCI protector is more likely to trip with the more appliances you put on it. Plus there is the argument over coordination/dont blow the main breaker instead of a branch breaker since if you loose all the power, you might break a leg trying to feel your way out of your house or to get a flash light.



JustBurnt

@rr.com
reply to alkizmo

Did I read that right ... You want to "Break code" to be safer? Please call a qualified electrician.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to alkizmo

said by alkizmo:

Aside from pulling new 20A wires (not gonna happen), I can simply make one receptacle use one leg and the other receptacle use the other leg, but then I wouldn't be following the code regarding kitchen counter receptacles.

Am I forgetting an option or should I just overlook the code made for convenience in order to add safety?

Could you specify the code issue?


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by robbin:

Could you specify the code issue

Code for counter top receptacles is as such:

1 - Either 15A split duplex receptacles or 20A dedicated per receptacle.

2 - Gotta be GFCI within 1m (or 1.5m don't remember) of the sink.

When my house was built (1964), the code only allowed 15A split duplex receptacles for kitchen counters and GFCI didn't exist.

I want to go GFCI for safety reasons as the two counter receptacles are within a foot of the sink. However, in order to fulfill both criteria, I need 20A GFCI dedicated circuits for each receptacles when all I can do is 15A dedicated circuit (using the existing MBCW). Since I don't want to rewire, I am looking at my other options, options which I don't like.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

And the circuit is currently 14 gauge wire?



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by robbin:

And the circuit is currently 14 gauge wire?

Yup.

Basically if i want added safety, I need to not fill the code requirement for counter top receptacles being 15A split duplex or 20A dedicated.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

You could replace both of the boxes with double boxes and install two GFCIs in each. That would at least meet the spirit of the code as two 15 amp circuits would be available at each box.



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to alkizmo

Either place a suitable 2 pole breaker; or leave it alone... I'd strongly suggest the later, myself.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to alkizmo

A 2P GFCI breaker (if available) would be the best solution. The breaker is expensive, but the labor is minimal. What's your time worth?
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
reply to alkizmo

Don't use a common neutral on GFIs, it wont work. My first experience with GFIs was wiring a boat dock. When the power was turned on one or the other would trip. We had to run another conduit just for one wire. That was like 35 years ago ....


TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel

1 edit
reply to alkizmo

said by alkizmo:

I have the option to use a 2-pole GFCI breaker, but then the whole point of MBCW kitchen receptacles would be lost. A 2-pole GFCI breaker would make me run to the basement to reset the breaker way more often than a 15A non MBCW kitchen receptacle.

In many years of using various small appliances connected to GFI receptacles, never have I had one trip (other than accidentally hitting the "test" button).

I really don't see how using a GFI breaker would be so inconvenient. If you're constantly tripping GFIs then one of your appliances has some serious issues.

A 2-pole GFI breaker would be the easiest solution to adding GFI protection to your existing kitchen receptacles.

As long as the 2-pole GFI breaker in question passes both hot conductors as well as the neutral conductor through the breaker, I see no reason why it wouldn't work with the existing MWBC setup.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to alkizmo

You guys are so strict. I love it.

Anyway, I checked the price for a 2-pole GFCI 15A breaker for my panel: 280$ GOD DAMN!!! That's almost more expensive than the whole panel and breakers inside it.

Would Robbin's suggestion be an accepted interpretation of the code? I could see myself troubling... myself... to cut out space for a double box. We already use duplex-to-six plug adapter because of all the stuff we're too lazy to unhook (toaster oven, kettle, rice cooker, toaster).

said by nunya:

The breaker is expensive, but the labor is minimal. What's your time worth?

My time is worth nothing on weekends


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

1 edit

No, it wouldn't be considered a legal install...

You could still plug two high draw appliances into the same circuit; which is what the splits were designed to avoid...

That's why the dedicated splits aren't allowed to be extended, either. Depending on what version of the code was in effect when your house was built, you were allowed either one or two duplex outlets on the MWBC only.

I still suggest leaving it as is, as option 1; option 2 being the breaker...

Edit - and be careful with the temporary tap... They generally aren't the most heavy-duty devices, and aren't meant for long term (or high-current) use.



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2

What if he installed 2 single outlet GFCIs side by side?
--
The talented hawk speaks French.



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

Code only allows 15a splits, or 20a ckts to feed kitchen counter outlets...

Since he has 14ga wire in the walls, the 20a option is off the table. Can't run a standard GFCI as a split; so it's either a 2p GFI breaker, or allow it to stay as is, grandfathered in... Legally, anyways.



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

3 edits
reply to LazMan

said by LazMan:

You could still plug two high draw appliances into the same circuit; which is what the splits were designed to avoid...

That isn't the case for my setup.
There is only one MBCW feeding two split receptacles, meaning that I can connect two appliances in the same circuit by simply connecting one on the left receptacle and connecting the other one on the right receptacle.

Hmmmm... I'm gonna go investigate my panel and the kitchen counter wire going into it, maybe I'm forgetting another circuit, or it's 12/3 (wouldn't that be nice?)

edit - So I checked and the MBCW feeds both sides of the sink, meaning 2 appliances can be connected per circuit.

edit 2 - LAzman was HALF correct. The code specifies that there is no more than TWO receptacles per circuit, which is my current case but doesn't allow for doubling up the device boxes to make them GFCI.

edit 3 - SO I will leave things "as-is" until I renovate the kitchen The electric panel is right under the kitchen, so fishing wires through semi-open walls should be easy enough.


nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
·surpasshosting
reply to alkizmo

Please tell me what brand panel has a $280 2P GFCI breaker. It must be very obscure and out of production.
While they are expensive, it's usually only around $100 +/- 20% based on the manufacturer.

And it's MWBC, BTW, FWIW.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by nunya:

Please tell me what brand panel has a $280 2P GFCI breaker. It must be very obscure and out of production.
While they are expensive, it's usually only around $100 +/- 20% based on the manufacturer.

Federal Pioneer.
No, they don't fail like Pacific Pioneers.

They aren't discontinued, no, the problem is that I live in Canada.
We get gouged, especially on stuff that can't just cross the border (Needs CSA certification).

Im browsing around hardware store's webpages and 2-pole GFIs, either siemens, square D, Federal Pioneers, Homeline, etc, all of them run around 275$. The 1-poles are in the 120$ range.

Examples:

»www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/stor···N=173190

»www.rona.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/se···Number=1

»www.lowes.ca/search/gfci.html?typeid=17808

said by nunya:

And it's MWBC, BTW, FWIW.

I never get it right because to me, multiple branch circuits WIRE makes more sense than multi-wire branch circuit. Isn't multiple circuits the more defining factor?

TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel

said by alkizmo:

Im browsing around hardware store's webpages and 2-pole GFIs, either siemens, square D, Federal Pioneers, Homeline, etc, all of them run around 275$. The 1-poles are in the 120$ range.

Try an electrical supplier instead. Hardware stores tend to overprice their breakers big time.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by TheMG:

Try an electrical supplier instead. Hardware stores tend to overprice their breakers big time.

I might save 20$, but that isn't the issue.


aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
reply to alkizmo

Slightly OT, but what makes a GFCI breaker so expensive? At $250 a pop...
I think when I bought some GFCI outlets they were under $10. (probably $9.99 )
--
Wacky Races 2012!


TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel

1 edit

said by aurgathor:

Slightly OT, but what makes a GFCI breaker so expensive?

Because they can.

The electronics inside the breaker don't cost anywhere near that much. In fact, very similar to a GFCI receptacle with a few small differences.

Code requires the use of these breakers in certain installations. Another manufacturer can't just jump in and start offering bargain GFCI breakers. They need the approvals and testing to do so.

Therefore, lack of competition, you get exorbitant prices for something that doesn't cost that much to manufacture.


nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
·surpasshosting
reply to aurgathor

The problem is he needs a 2 pole GFCI breaker due to the unique (possibly not so unique in Canada) wiring situation in his kitchen.

The breaker manufacturers know that when you need a 2P GFCI breaker, they've got you by the balls because there probably isn't much in the way of alternative. That's why they cost so much.

I don't know why people keep suggesting GFCI receptacles or 1P GFCI breakers. It will not work with a MWBC + split device configuration.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to alkizmo

Is yours the QO style or the FPE Stab-lok style?



cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to alkizmo

said by alkizmo:

Anyway, I checked the price for a 2-pole GFCI 15A breaker for my panel: 280$ GOD DAMN!!! That's almost more expensive than the whole panel and breakers inside it.

So what's the cheapest 2-pole GFCI you can find along with the cheapest, smallest subpanel to house said GFCI?


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to alkizmo

@Nunya - 15a kitchen splits were the norm up here until the mid 90's - and are still allowed in new construction, if the outlet doesn't require GFCI protection...

@Alkizmo - what part was I half wrong on?



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by nunya:

Is yours the QO style or the FPE Stab-lok style?

Stab-Lok, but the panel and breakers are very new (It's actually my transfer switch acting as a subpanel since it has 24 spaces) and aside from their tricky way to secure in the panel, the breakers are fine. I know you're thinking of the bad rep the stabloks had in the states.

said by cdru:

So what's the cheapest 2-pole GFCI you can find along with the cheapest, smallest subpanel to house said GFCI?

Check the links I posted above, doesn't matter the manufacturer/brand, all 2-pole GFCIs run around 250$-300$.

So basically I'm going to drop the matter. Anyway I can only see the slight chance of getting your fingers shocked... maybe (no wet feet on the ground).

Stupid MWBC (Did I get this right?). I have a similar issue with my bedrooms, they are all supplied by the same MWBC so I can't put an AFCI breaker (I wanted to).

said by LazMan:

@Alkizmo - what part was I half wrong on?

Half-wrong, not fully correct, not exactly, etc etc.

Here's what you said regarding doubling up the device boxes....

said by LazMan:

You could still plug two high draw appliances into the same circuit; which is what the splits were designed to avoid...

That's why the dedicated splits aren't allowed to be extended

The MWBC is allowed to have up to 2 duplex split 15A receptacles (and no more). So you can still legally have the option to connect two high draw appliances on the same circuit.