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Split Receptacle GFCI: Is It Possible To Do So?

Bamboozled by how to shift from a split receptacle to a GFCI?

Well, don’t worry we’re here to answer this specific question.

Is it possible to shift to a split receptacle GFCI from a normal GFCI?

Yes, you can turn a GFCI into a split receptacle outlet. However, it is a bit complicated as it involves extra wiring. There are several pros and cons to both split receptacles and GFCIs. Today, we’ll go over the specifics of how to re-configure GFCIs.

Do you want to know the specifics?

Not to worry, we’ve looked further into it. Keep reading!

Can I Turn A Normal GFCI To A Split Receptacle GFCI?

Yes, GFCI breakers can be used. If you have a fuse panel, you’ll need to install a pair of faceless GFCIs. 

You could also cut in a larger box where the first split receptacle is. Then, convert the box into two independent GFCIs.

However, it is not advisable to do so. This would require you to extend and add more electrical wirings. 

This should only be done by a professional due to its complexity. It would be better to replace the GFCI with a split receptacle altogether.

Why Should You Choose A Split Receptacle?

There are several reasons why having a split receptacle is better. Split receptacles have an edge over GFCI’s.

Sometimes, when GFCIs trip, a faulty outlet can ruin the entire connection. The advantages of split receptacles are mentioned below- 

Enables Switching between Ports

Split Receptacles are traditionally used for places that need multiple power ports.

The mechanism of the split receptacle works like this. A wall switch controls one of the receptacles, while the other is connected to a separate hot wire and is constantly on, or “hot.”

This allows you to have two working ports instead of one with the added benefit of not having to change the voltage like a multiplug. 

Prevents Short Circuits

This dual-port system also allows you to have an advantage regarding short circuits. When one of the connections blows out, it won’t affect the other.

The ports are independent of their uses and are not connected.

However, there are also precautions when it comes to using split receptacles.

You may have switched off both receptacles while a separate circuit powers one. 

The safety precaution here is always ensuring that the power is turned off to both parts.

Sometimes as a safety measure, the outlets are difficult to plug into. This is to prevent accidents.

How to Turn A GFCI To Split Receptacle – 5-Step Guide

Now you know split receptacles are the way to go. The cons of GFCI far outweigh the cons of a split receptacle. At risk, GFI outlets are exposed to moisture, such as rain, snow, fog, and spray from yard sprinklers.

If a ground fault is discovered, GFCI circuit breakers deactivate an entire branch circuit. The circuit will stay inactive until a defect is discovered and repaired.

Let’s see how to turn a GFCI into a split receptacle outlet.

Tools You’ll Require

Before replacing your outlets there are things you’ll require. Things you’ll require to carry this out are-

  • Pliers/Wire Cutters
  • Split Receptacle Outlets
  • Bolthead & Flathead Screwdriver
  • Flashlight

If you’re unsure about which flashlights to invest in, take a look at our picks below:


Now that you’ve picked out your tools, let’s get started. Before you get started make sure you shut off the power.

Step 1: Take The GFCI Out

Using a flat screwdriver, remove the outlet cover. Because the overhead light may also be out, you’ll probably need someone to hold a flashlight.

Use a screwdriver to remove the old outlet from the outlet box. Two screws at the top and bottom usually hold the outlet in place. 

The outlet will hang freely once the screws are removed. This is because the associated wires are only holding it in place.

Step 2: Rerouting The Wires

Remove the three Phillips-screwed wires that are attached. Take note of the color of the screws and cables.

Black & red (hot) wires connect to a brass or gold screw. A silver screw on the opposite side joins a white (neutral) wire. A green screw connects the green/copper (ground) wire to the outlet’s bottom.

Step 3: Strip And Loop The Wires

Now, you have to substitute a split receptacle instead. Use your pliers/wire cutters to strip and loop all four wires.

Loop the corresponding wires with the corresponding colors. Neutral (white wire) goes to one of the silver terminals (below-the-ground wire). 

Use a screwdriver to tighten the terminals. Be careful not to overtighten. Flip the receptacle and attach the hots wires.

Step 4: Split The Tab

This step also comes in handy when installing lights using 12-2 wires. The requirements are 15 Ampere circuit breakers with a maximum voltage of 30 Volts. Thus, the wiring is feasible.

After tightening the connections on all the terminals, split the tab. Use a plier to move the plastic tab back and forth.

The tab should break off easily. This enables each of the two receptacles to have a 120-volt connection. 

Step 5: Run Diagnostics

Screw the outer bolts to fasten the outlet cover. Then, turn on the power supply and test using a plug tester. 

If the indicator lights are ok, then the circuit is working. You can also use other ways to test your circuit.

In conclusion, this is how you install a split receptacle in place of a GFCI outlet.


Are GFIs and GFCIs the same thing?

GFIs (Ground Fault Interrupters) and GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Circuit Interrupters) are the same. 

What is the maximum number of outlets and lights my 20 amp breaker holds?

10 receptacles are the maximum limit for your 20 amp breaker. As the general guideline dictates you have a maximum draw of 1.5 amps per receptacle.

Is it possible for to Daisy Chain my electrical outlets?

Yes, it is possible for you to daisy chain your electrical outlets. However, there is a condition. The incoming wires must be connected to the “line” terminals, whereas the outgoing wires must be connected to the “load” terminals.