Garmaine Staff asked 1 year ago

Over here in Europe, a common approach to GFCI (RCD) protection is to have one (three-phase) 30 mA GFCI breaker as the main breaker (or something similar such as one GFCI per (sub)panel or one shared GFCI for all the outlet circuits). Per-circuit GFCI breakers are mostly seen only in new construction if you want a real fancy panel. GFCI sockets are not a thing here.

The main advantage of this solution (apart from being cheaper) is that it's trivial to retrofit to older houses without having to disentangle all the neutrals first. One could also say that it's safer, because it forces people to actually fix the fridge that trips the GFCI instead of removing the GFCI. (The main breaker can't be replaced without calling in the utility company, which would obviously take a dim view of removing mandatory protection.)

However, my impression is that such a central GFCI setup is completely unheard of in the US. Is it so? Does the NEC theoretically allow such a solution? Do some homeowners go for it anyway to save a couple hundred bucks on GFCI breakers?