Replace Breaker w/ GFCI Breaker

nuckphotoNovember 22, 2010

I want to replace a standard 20A breaker on the bathroom circuit with a 20A GFCI one.

The load center is a Square D Box Cat. No. QOBW-20M 100-3. It was installed in the early 80s I believe.

The breaker I want to install is a One-pole QO/QOB Circuit Breaker and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, Model QO120GFCI.

Comparing the two, the GFCI is longer, but the hold down clips are positioned the same so it would clip in. I'm assuming it's longer due to the GFCI protection?

Question is: Is this the right breaker?

My research says it is, but it never hurts to get other opinions from the experts here. You guys were invaluable during my kitchen remodel.

All safety precautions have been taken (if you don't include hiring an electrician).

Thank you.

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Ron Natalie

The first question is why?

Yes this breaker will work fine. Yes it is longer. Remember you must connect the load neutral to the terminal on this breaker and connect the little pigs tail coming out fo the breaker to the neutral bar in the panel.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 12:52PM
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nuckphoto

Thanks for the quick response, ronnatalie.

"The first question is why?"

Well, the bathroom has no GFCI outlets and I've heard many times that a GFCI breaker is better than a GFCI outlet in respects to better protection and longer lasting. So I spent the extra bucks to be on the cautious side.

Yes, I know about changing the neutral connection.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:02PM
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brickeyee

"Well, the bathroom has no GFCI outlets and I've heard many times that a GFCI breaker is better than a GFCI outlet in respects to better protection and longer lasting. So I spent the extra bucks to be on the cautious side."

The protection is exactly the same. ~6 mA of imbalance and the power is removed.

The life may be marginally better since it is not exposed to the high moisture levels of a bathroom.

By the time you payed for the GFCI breaker you could have purchased multiple GFCI receptacles, and you would have the convenience of simply pushing the reset button without making a trip to the panel.

The only real savings is the time to map the receptacles (if you have more than one) so that a single GFCI receptacle could be used.

With the test button in the panel you WILL forget to test the thing though.

Out of sight is out of mind.

At least when the test and reset buttons are right there it is not hard to remember to test them around the first of the month.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:11PM
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nuckphoto

It's in and testing fine. Had to do a little breaker shuffle due to the neutral wire being cut shorter than the hot wire.

Thanks all.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 4:06PM
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pharkus

I like GFCI breakers for one of the same reasons brickeyee hates them.

I am peeved easily.

End users doing stupid things with electricity is one of those peeves.

About the third time the goofball has to walk the entire length of the house, down the stairs, then back the entire length, reset the breaker, then go all the way back up to the bathroom again, maybe he'll get the hint that the hacked-to-heck hair dryer he's forcing his family to keep using is dangerous and overdue for replacement.

Seriously, I've never tripped a GFCI except when demonstrating how they work. Nuisance trips aren't NEARLY as common as some want us to believe. The majority of the time, it's the same deal as a circuit breaker: when it trips, something is wrong, and you'd be well-advised to figure out WHAT, and solve the issue before just resetting it. Placing the GFCI in an "absurd" far-off location, I feel, ultimately encourages that correction to happen.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 4:12PM
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