GFCI Outlets, Where Are They Required

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Life savers

GFCI outlets, technically called GFCI  receptacles, save lives.

GFCI stands for “ground fault circuit interrupter”, sometimes called a GFI. Its purpose is to help protect users against electrical shock.

If you’re in the bathroom and you put your hand accidentally down in a sink filled with water, while holding a plugged in hair dryer; it may shock or electrocute you, if the outlet is not GFCI protected. The same is true in the kitchen, if you were holding an electric device and you accidentally put your hand in the sink while holding the device, it might shock, kill or injure you.

Where do you put GFCI’s

Recommended locations:

  • Outdoors, patios, porches, fountain areas (since 1973)
  • Bathrooms (since 1975)
  • Garages, carports (since 1978)
  • Spas (since 1981)
  • Kitchens, cooking areas (since 1987)
  • Crawl spaces and unfinished basements (since 1990)
  • Wet bar sinks (since 1993)
  • Laundry rooms and utility sinks (since 2005)

Local building departments

Remodeling – when an outlet, in any location where it may encounter water or dampness, is replaced or added in an existing home; then it is recommended to be GFCI protected.

Kitchen has been remodeled? – then it should have GFCI protection

Bathroom has been remodeled? – then it should have GFCI protection

My house is an older house and there is no ground wire. Can I still use a GFCI and will it work?

Yes. A non-grounding type receptacle may be replaced with a grounding type GFCI receptacle without a grounding wire connection and it will provide GFCI protection.

Don’t confuse GFCI outlets with AFCI outlets

Now the building codes and building jurisdictions are requireing AFCI to be put in certian locations in a home built today. At times a contractor may use an AFCI outlet or he may use a AFCI breaker. ( READ MORE ABOUT AFCI’S )