Can You Plug a Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet? (& Difference Explained)

For electrical wiring to be done in our homes many people need clarification, especially those who have little knowledge about electricity. Electrical systems do have different components and you need to understand them to prevent any severe situations. For example, the difference between GFCI and surge protectors. This article will guide you about surge protectors and GFCI and whether is it possible to plug a surge protector into a GFCI outlet. 

Key takeaway:

Yes, you can plug a surge protector into a GFCI outlet but you have to make sure about some points and there are many issues that you can face. 

Before the answer, you need to know what a surge protector and a GFCI outlet are then only you will be able to understand the exact reason and solution to plug a surge protector into a GFCI outlet.

Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet
Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet

GFCI outlet:

The GFCI outlet is designed in a way that they constantly monitor the flow of the current in a circuit so that they are able to detect any sort of increase in the flow of current and in this situation a person or the appliance connected to the outlet can get damaged and on touching the outlet a person can get shocked but by GFCI outlet prevent from these serve damage and shot off the power or it breaks the circuit. the location of the GFCI outlet should be in moist or wet locations. for example, if you use a hair dryer near your sink outlet then at any interruption the GFCI outlet will sense it and make cut off the power immediately. by doing so your appliance will not get damaged and ensures your electrical safety.

Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet
Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet

The following are some locations in your household where you should use GFCI outlet:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Spa and pool areas
  • Laundry
  • Wet bars
  • Garbages

Surge protector:

The surge proctor is designed in a way to protect the appliance against excessive voltage of the current which is used to cause commonly by lightning strikes. we can say that if the voltage of the current rises above the limits of the current the surge protector is used to divert the extra amount of electricity towards the grounding wires and protect all the appliances which are connected.

Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet
Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet


Hence the GFCI outlet provides personnel protection and a surge protector is used to provide protection to the appliances.

Can You Plug a Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet?

Plug a surge protector into a GFCI outlet is possible but there are some complications that you can have such as:

  • Plug a surge protector strip into a GFCi outlet will cause a negative interaction between them.
  • Using it with the GFCI outlet dont create problems for the outlet but this does not mean to attach multiple devices to the surge protector.
  • The will be a problem if you connect multiple appliances to a surge protector which is plugged into a GFCI outlet as first the GFCI outlet will trip and the worst case is to cause an electric fire in the house.

How does the GFCI outlet interact with surge protectors? 

  • The GFCI outlet is not able to protect the wiring if there is the presence of too much current in the electrical system for this situation a circuit breaker is used in the service panel. basically, the GFCI is used in the circuit to protect a human being from getting shocked and killed by measuring any leakage of the current to the ground. The GFCI outlet will trips when the current exceeds 5 mA.
  • In the case of a surge protector, it uses a metal oxide varistor which does contain a small amount of leakage of current from the hot wire to the ground wire. According to the national electrical code, the surge protector stirps are allowed leak upto 3mA of current to the ground.
  • Every electrical appliance which is plugged into an electrical outlet leaks some amount such as 1 mA of fault current to the ground wire in the electrical outlet. 
Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet
Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet

If you add ground fault leaks together and when the amount is above 5mA of fault current then the GFCI outlet will trip.

Prevent false trips:

The following are some ways to prevent the household from false trips:

  • To prevent the electrical system from false tripping you need to install a main panel suppressor with a dedicated standard double pole circuit breaker by doing this you are providing a whole house surge protector.
  • The other way to prevent false trips is to use surge strips with built-in GFCI which are more stable and is able to work better than manual plug-ins. 


However, using a good-grade of surge protector will help you not to damage the GFCI outlet. but there is the possibility to cause the GFCI outlet to trip if you connected multiple appliances in to the surge protector. Plug a Surge Protector into a GFCI Outlet is possible the problem to face is explained above.


What should be avoided not to pugged in a GFCI outlet?

You should avoid connecting the wattage of appliances to plug in a GFCI outlet such as refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, etc.

Rick Costa

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