How to Wire a 220 Volt Ground Fault Circuit Breaker

Things You'll Need

  • GFCI circuit breaker

  • Screwdriver

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Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) devices monitor the hot and neutral lines in circuits to ensure that the current levels are equal. When the processor in the GFCI detects a disparity in the circuit, it trips the circuit, killing power. Where circuit breakers in the service panel protect the wiring in a home, a GFCI protects people from faulty appliances or when they are using appliances in damp conditions. While most GFCI devices are power receptacles linked to a single appliance, it is possible to install GFCI circuit breakers to protect entire circuits.

Replacing an existing breaker

Step 1

Shut off power to the service panel through the main breaker.

Step 2

Remove the old 220/240-volt breaker by unclipping it from the hot bus bars and disconnect the wires from the old breaker.

Step 3

Connect the hot and neutral wires from the circuit to the setscrews on the GFCI breaker. A third neutral wire, called the pigtail, remains to be connected.

Step 4

Connect the pigtail to the neutral bus bar.

Step 5

Clip the breaker into place on the hot bus bars.

Step 6

Restore power to the service panel and test the new GFCI by pushing the test button. The breaker should trip.

Adding a new GFCI-protected circuit

Step 1

Make sure your box can accept another 220/240-volt circuit before beginning any work. There must be two adjacent unused spaces in the service panel.

Step 2

Turn off the power to the circuit breaker box.

Step 3

Remove the cover from the empty spaces in the service panel where you will be adding your new breaker by popping them out with your screwdriver.

Step 4

Connect the breaker as described above.