1. Home

Discuss in my forum

How to Install a Ground Fault Circuit Breaker

Installation Instructions

By

Ground Fault Circuit Breaker

Ground Fault Circuit Breaker

Timothy Thiele

Installing a ground fault circuit breaker in the electrical panel will provide personnel protection from electrical shock hazards. If you are not electrically inclined or are unsure of any of these instructions and diagrams, consult a qualified electrician to safely install this device. This ground fault circuit breaker is to be connected to a single phase, 120-volt grounded power supply.

Warning! Safety First!

As with any other electrical project, turn the power off in the panel before installing the ground fault circuit breaker. Turn the main breaker off, which will likely be a 100 or 200-amp breaker at the top of the electrical panel. Failure to turn off the power will increase the risk of electrical shock and even death, personal injury, or property damage.

Installing the Breaker in the Panel

Move the handle to the off position and this will latch the ground fault circuit breaker. Plug or bolt the ground fault circuit breaker into the desired slot in the electrical panel and attach it to the buss bar. Most breakers will have a locking tab on the back of the breaker and will press onto the buss in the front of the breaker.

Making the Neutral Connections

Locate the coiled white pigtail wire that is connected to the ground fault circuit breaker. This connects to the neutral buss (see illustration) in the electrical panel. Connect the circuit neutral, from the device being protected, to the terminal side of the ground fault circuit breaker. This is marked with a white dot (see illustration) and is the load connection. This connection is located above the white coiled wire.

Making the Hot Wire Connection

Connect the hot wire (usually black or red) to the ground fault circuit breaker terminal marked load. This is the feed wire for the device that you are feeding.

Power On and Test

Turn the main breaker back on by standing to the side of the panel and looking away while flipping on the main breaker. Now, turn on the ground fault circuit breaker and make sure that it holds. If so, you can test the breaker for functionality.

Press the test button and this will test all the ground fault features. If it is functioning properly, the breaker handle will click and move to the center tripped position. This indicates a ground fault has occurred.

This breaker should be tested monthly in accordance with the recommendations of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). The breaker comes with a test reminder label to keep track of the dates that you test the circuits. This should be attached to the inside of the panel cover.

What if the Breaker Trips When Energized?

If the breaker trips immediately after you turn the breaker on, remove loads from the circuit, one at a time. Continue this process until the circuit clears and remains on. Continue checking until you narrow it down to the problem device.

What Causes the Breaker to Trip?

A number of things can cause a ground fault circuit breaker to trip. It can be cracked or inferior insulation on the wires, shorted wires, wet connections, wet conduit, or a neutral wire coming in contact with a ground connection.

How to Reset the Breaker

In order to reset a tripped breaker, push the handle to the off position first. Now, push the breaker handle to the on position and, if working properly, the breaker will remain on.

  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Electrical
  4. Panels & Distribution
  5. Ground Fault Circuit Breaker Installation Instructions - How to Install a Ground Fault Circuit Breaker

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.