How to Wire a 2-Pole GFCI Breaker without Neutral (4 Easy Steps)

This tutorial will show you how to wire a 2-pole GFCI breaker without a neutral.

When a ground fault or leakage current trips a circuit, GFCIs are utilized to prevent electric shock. IEC and NEC state that these devices must be used and installed in wet locations such as the laundry room, kitchen, spa, bathroom, and other outdoor installations. 

The correct wiring of a two-pole GFCI breaker without a neutral wire involves a few steps. Examples include:

  1. Shutting off the main panel breaker.
  2. Connecting the GFCI circuit breaker.
  3. Wiring the double pole GFCI circuit Breaker
  4. Troubleshooting.

I’ll go over each of these procedures in this article so that you can grasp how to wire a double pole GFCI breaker from beginning to end. So let’s start.

A single neutral wire joins two hot wires in double-pole breakers. Thus, both poles trip if a short circuit occurs on either of their hot wires. These breakers can serve two separate 120-volt circuits or one 240-volt circuit, like the one for your central air conditioning system. Neutral bar connections are not necessarily necessary for double pole breakers.

1. Shutting Off the Main Panel Breaker

It would be best if you shut off the power from your main panel breaker before moving further with the twin pole GFCI installation. Working with live wires is strictly prohibited at all times.

main breakers

Here are some steps to disconnect the main breaker.

  1. Identify where your home’s main panel is located.
  2. It is recommended you wear safety gear such as rubber boots and gloves to protect against electrical risks.
  3.   You may access all the breakers by opening the main cover panel.
  4. Find the primary panel breaker. It will most likely be above the other breakers, apart from them. It is often a massive breaker with a rating of 100 amps or higher.
  5. To cut the power, cautiously flip the switch on the main breaker.
  6. To confirm that the other breakers’ power has been turned off, use a tester, multimeter, or non-contact voltage meter.

Identifying a Double Pole GFCI’s Terminals

Correctly identify a two-pole GFCI breaker’s terminals because you need to know which terminals to use if you want to wire a two-pole GFCI breaker without a neutral correctly.

How to Spot a Double Pole GFCI Breaker’s Terminals

  1. The pigtail wire exiting the back of your twin pole GFCI breaker will be the first thing you notice. It needs to be connected to your main panel’s neutral bus.
  2. Then, you’ll see three terminals at the bottom.
  3. For the “Hot” wires, there are two of them.
  4. The “Neutral” wire requires one. However, this time we won’t be using the neutral terminal. Can a two-pole GFCI breaker operate without a neutral, though? It can.
  5. Most frequently, the middle terminal is the neutral terminal. But make sure to double-check with the particular GFCI model you’re purchasing.
  6. The hot wires go into the two terminals on the side.

spotting double pole GFCI breaker's terminals
Video | Spa Guy

2. Connecting the GFCI circuit breaker

Use a screwdriver to attach the hot wire to the “hot” or “load” screw terminal and the neutral wire to the “neutral” screw terminal on the GFCI breaker while the breaker is off.

Next, attach the GFCI breaker’s coiled white wire to the service panel’s neutral bus bar using an open screw terminal at all times.

Use only one wire for a breaker at a time. Ensure that all the screw terminals are securely fastened and that each wire is attached to the appropriate screw terminal.

3. Wiring the double pole GFCI Circuit Breaker

You have a choice between two configurations. The pigtail has two exit points: one leads to the neutral bus, the other to the ground. I’ll go into more depth about the wiring below.

installing dual AFCI/GFCI outlet
Video | Leviton

  1. Decide where you want to place the breaker and find that position.
  2. Make sure that the breaker is turned off.
  3. Inside the socket, press it down.
  4. For configuration 1, attach the pigtail to the main panel’s neutral bus.
  5. For configuration 2, attach the pigtail to the main panel’s ground.
  6. Screwdriver it firmly into place.
  7. Connect two hot wires to the terminals on the left and right.
  8. Screws are used to secure the wires.
  9. Optional to use a neutral bar or middle terminals.

This is how you can wire a double-pole GFCI breaker without neutral wires. Select the configuration that best suits your needs. 

4. Troubleshooting

You can troubleshoot a double-pole GFCI breaker in a few easy steps.

  1. From the main panel, turn on the electricity.
  2. Verify to see if the power has been restored.
  3. To check for power, you can use a non-contact voltage tester.
  4. Now turn the switch on the installed breaker to the ON position.
  5. Check it to determine whether the circuit has electricity or not.
  6. As an alternative, you can check the power with a tester.
  7. Check your wiring to ensure it is accurate, and rewire if necessary if the power still needs to be restored.
  8. Push the TEST button on the breaker to see if the electricity is on. It ought to trip the circuit, cutting off power to it. Turn the switch OFF, then back ON.
  9. Verify the circuit’s power by checking. If so, the installation has been successfully finished. If not, recheck the wiring.


Can a GFCI Circuit Breaker with Two Poles Work without a Neutral?

A GFCI can function without a neutral. It measures the amount of leakage to the ground. The CB may have a neutral wire if a multiwire circuit is used.

What if There is No Neutral Wire in My House?

You can still put it in even if your smart switch doesn’t have a neutral. Most modern brands of smart switches don’t need a neutral wire. Most wall sockets in older homes don’t have a neutral wire that can be seen. If you think you might not have a neutral wire, you can buy a smart switch that doesn’t need one.

Video References

Spa Guy


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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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