Ground-fault circuit-interrupters, or GFCIs for short, are small devices on electrical outlets, extension cords, circuit breakers, and other equipment found in your home. This device is small but has a big job: it literally saves lives by shutting off power if there is an imbalance in the electric current, preventing injury or death from electric shock.
You may have experienced this before while blow-drying your hair in the bathroom. Maybe you’ve accidentally got water onto your blow dryer, and it immediately shut off. This is your GFCI outlet in action: it shuts itself off after detecting a short circuit. It takes less than a second to do. Thankfully, it’s required for GFCI outlet installation to be included in rooms that regularly interact with water, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
Since 1971, there have been many methods of GFCI protection out there. These devices are revised every three years, as protections are expanded. While there are other ways to protect the outlets in your home, GFCI outlet installation is the best one to protect you and your loved ones from injury or death by electrocution or shock.
GFCI is required for all 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-amp outlets, according to the National Electrical Code, or NEC. The following rooms and areas are places where GFCI are used:
Because this is a room that regularly deals with water, sometimes in large amounts, GFCI outlets are required.
It’s required to have GFCI protection for floors at grade level or below. Because the garage is both a storage area and very close to the outdoors, where inclement weather can take place, outlets in this area must be protected from accidental water spillage or flooding.
Any outlet located outside is subject to the effects of rain.
Spilled drinks. Mop buckets. Pots of boiling water. There are many risk factors in kitchens that make GFCI installation protection mandatory. Any outlet that serves a countertop or other surface within six feet of sinks requires it, as well as receptacles for dishwashers.
Your washing machine holds a great deal of water and is powered by electricity. Therefore, GFCI protection is required within six feet of outside sink edges.
Being a large body of water that’s kept clean with electricity-dependent equipment, your pool area will also have GFCI protection around lights and pumps. Any receptacle within 20 feet of a pool or hot tub will need it as well.
Ultimately, the NEC has the final word on electrical concerns, but local building authorities dictate which receptacles require GFCI protection. You can check with your local housing authorities to learn more about specific installation requirements, just in case they differ from the NEC (which is rare, but it happens).
Keep in mind that one GFCI vessel can be set up so it protects other devices in the vicinity. That means that one GFCI receptacle can be used to protect the other ones, assuming that your local codes allow for this.
If you have questions or concerns about GFCI outlet installation protection, your local electricians at Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric can make sure your current set-up aligns with local codes and is safely installed. We are one of Florida’s most trusted names in all things electric. Call us today at 1-800-475-1504.
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