How Do I Change From a GFI to a Regular Plug?

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A GFI (ground fault interrupt) outlet is a safety measure typically installed near water. It functions by monitoring the current of the hot and neutral lines of a circuit. When a deviation occurs in the monitored current, the GFI outlet trips, stopping the flow of electricity. One issue with GFI outlets is that they can be tripped by devices with ground start motors. These devices are engineered to pass current to the ground wire when starting, making them impossible to use on a GFI outlet. When this situation occurs, the only option is to replace the GFI outlet with a standard outlet.

Things You'll Need

  • Outlet tester or voltmeter
  • Screwdriver
  • Standard outlet and outlet cover
  • Remove the fuse or turn the breaker to the off position to disable the circuit for which the outlet is being replaced.

  • Verify that the outlet is not live by using an outlet tester or voltmeter. If there is still current to the outlet, the circuit is still live. Repeats steps 1 and 2 until current is no longer present.

  • Remove the screws while holding the outlet cover in place and remove the cover.

  • Remove the screws holding the GFI outlet in the electrical box and carefully pull the outlet out to gain access to the wires.

  • Remove the wires from the GFI outlet. If there are more than one set of wires on the GFI outlet, you may want to label them in the event that a GFI outlet will be installed at a later date. GFI outlets only work when the load and line wires are properly installed. The top set of wires is the load set, feeding additional outlets in the circuit. The bottom set is the line set, which lead back to the main electrical panel.

  • Hold the new outlet with the ground at the bottom and the plugs facing you.

  • Attach the black wires, known as the hot wires, to the right-side screws.

  • Attach the white wires, known as the neutral wires, to the left-side screws.

  • Attach the bare copper wires, known as the ground wires, to the green ground screw located towards the bottom of the outlet.

  • Push the outlet into the electrical box slowly. The wires can be bent as needed. Screw the outlet into place.

  • Re-enable the circuit by replacing the fuse or turning the breaker back to the "on" position.

  • Verify current using the outlet tester or the voltmeter. Once current is verified, install the outlet cover and clean up.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before replacing a GFI outlet with a standard outlet, you should verify whether local building codes require the GFI outlet. Electricity can be dangerous, so please follow all steps closely to prevent injury.

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References

  • Photo Credit electric outlet image by Dawn Williams from Fotolia.com
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