No GFCI receptacles, but had dual Function AFCI/GFCI Breakers

I have seen homes that had no GFCI receptacles serving any of the required areas, only regular receptacles. They did have dual function AFCI/GFCI breakers in the panel so those circuits were protected. How do I test all GFCIs in bathrooms, kitchens, and on exteriors (as per SOP in Tennessee) without resetting breakers, which isn’t recommended or part of the SOP. Would this just be written as a limitation?

You either test and reset the breaker or don’t test and report why, I suppose.


Thanks for the welcome. That was why I asked. It is kind of a sticky wicket. Not knowing how the homes circuits are run, I would fear disconnecting power from some vital function in the house. I would hate to go upstairs and realize I killed grandpa because I disconnected his life support system. I don’t know how common this situation is, but I know I just had a home rewired and the electrical contractor did this and it got me thinking. It passed inspection so it is an accepted practice, at least here anway. Hopefully some more folks will chime in and I can get a feel for how others are handling this.

You cannot, you’d have to reset the breaker. The button on the breaker is the proper way to test them. You disclaim the testing in occupied houses unless otherwise arranged with the seller and or their agent. Just like you disclaim areas with stored items and or heavy furniture, gym equipment, rugs, etc…

If the SOP requires you to test than someone needs to inform the homeowner that the circuit breakers will be tripped and reset. They can make arrangements to mitigate any negative impacts.


One fascinating capability of some of these dual breakers is they flash diagnostic codes just like early auto computer systems. You need to be able to tell what caused the breaker to trip now that there is more than one option.

Are you worried about running back and forth from each bathroom to the panel? If that’s the case, follow your usual pattern through the house and do your wiring check with your 3 light tester, but don’t trip the GFCIs.

When you get to the last location needing a GFCI try to trip it there. Then do a single quick pass back through the home to other GFCI locations checking and tripping if needed. Finally back to the panel to reset all at once.

Most likely the GFCI protected receptacles will be grouped on a couple breakers. Really no different than multiple bathrooms being protected by a single GFCI receptacle. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t expect the bedroom outlet where granddads oxygen concentrator is plugged in to be on a bathroom or kitchen GFCI circuit.

The recommended procedure for testing GFCI breakers is the same as GFCI outlets; use the test button on the device!

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Having worked on a lot of homes that had prior homeowner amateur wiring done, I wouldn’t assume anything when it came to a circuits dedication to a certain room. I have seen bathroom receptacles tied in with neighboring bedroom receptacle circuits, light circuits, etc. In most every older home I have done major remodels on, when I open up the walls I have been shocked (literally and figuratively) at some of the terrible and extremely dangerous and confusing wiring situations I have discovered. That being said, I am getting some conflicting messages of how to test the circuits, but there seems to be a common opinion that the breakers need to be tripped through testing either at the receptacle, or using the test button on the breaker, even though no SOP I have seen requires tripping breakers, or in most cases recommends it. That being said, I appreciate the input. I am going to let this ride for awhile and see what other folks recommend. Thanks all. What a great resource.

You’ve stated that the SOP requires you to test receptacles that are required to be GFCI protected (kitchens, bathrooms, etc.). If that GFCI protection is provided by the circuit breaker how can you follow the SOP and not trip the circuit breaker?

That is exactly my question. The whole point of my post is to get a feel for how other inspectors are dealing with this or how they recommend dealing with this.

I’ll defer to the professional HI’s for an answer but if I were buying a home I would hope that the inspector would test for GFCI protection.

Test the GFCI…Don’t be a lazy inspector.

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I test both GFCI breakers and outlets.

Do you trip at the receptacle or use the test button on the breaker?

Usually, I look at the electrical panel first. If there are GFCI breakers then I test the breaker with the test button. Then (ideally the breaker is identified) I go the designated outlets to see if they are de-energized.
When they are not identified you have to do a little hunting.

I test them all. I will trip every receptacle in the kitchens and bathrooms to make sure they do indeed trip the devise.
I inspected a kitchen this last week that had GFCI protected receptacles on the RH side of the sink but not the left, had I only tested the devise itself I would have missed them. I also found one the old Square D AFCI devises that failed to trip with the test button.

Here is the letter I send to all LAs:

Hello XXX

This message is notification that The Ohio Home Inspections Company has been contacted to perform a home inspection on your listing located at XXXXXXX. The scheduled date and time have been set for XXXXX at XXXX.

The inspector is Kevin M. Leonard

Please ask your client to be sure that we will have access to all attic hatches, electrical panels and shut off valves. I will also be testing GFCI & AFCI circuits so ask your clients to please turn off all computers and inform them that alarm clocks may have to be reset.

I want to thank you and your client for allowing us access to the property.

Best Regards

Kevin M. Leonard
Ohio Home Inspector License # OHI.2019004560
Ohio WDI Inspector License # 93685
CMI, NACHI & ASHI Certified Inspector
Phone: 513-895-7700


Ambiguous post. The receptacles are GROUND FAULT protected.
As with AFCI or multi function arc/ground fault breakers. False posative or nuisance trips occur.
I test on the circuit and at the panel board.
Any unfounded attempt to limit liability from testing would be a fool’s errand.