When it comes to electricity, safety is always a major concern. However, the development of ground fault circuit interrupter outlets (GFCI outlets) has greatly reduced the risks that come with electricity, including shocks and electrocution. The National Electric Code (NEC) requires all new construction homes to have GFCI electrical outlets, and it’s highly recommended to install GFCI outlets in older homes too.
What are GFCI outlets?
GFCI outlets were designed to prevent electrical injuries, which standard household outlets are not equipped to do. They are designed to monitor electrical currents and cut power, or ‘trip’, when an imbalance or excess current flow is detected down an unintended path. GFCIs are easily identifiable by the ‘Test’ and ‘Reset’ buttons found on the face of the outlet.
Where should GFCIs be installed?
The NEC requires GFCI installation in any areas that are near water. This includes bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, utility rooms, garages, crawlspaces and unfinished basements, wet bars, pool areas and other outdoor areas in proximity to water. Spaces without water fixtures, like bedrooms and living rooms, do not require GFCI replacement and are fine with regular outlets. In fact, they are still installed in homes today. Although older homes with older wiring are not required to have GFCI outlets, we highly recommend updating your wiring and having them installed.
Can I install GFCI outlets myself?
Changing to GFCI outlets is not difficult, but it requires experience. Individuals with electrical knowledge may be able to replace existing outlets with GFCIs, but only when working with three-prong outlets at the end of a circuit. Dealing with older wiring and wires located in the middle of an electrical circuit are situations that should be handled by a professional. Additionally, some neighborhoods and communities prohibit homeowners from working on their own wiring, so you should also check your rules and regulations before attempting a replacement. Regardless of skill level, we highly recommend leaving GFCI outlet replacement to a licensed electrician because they are equipped to handle the complexity of the wiring in a safe, efficient way.
Don’t forget to test your GFCI outlets!
After installing GFCI outlets, homeowners across the United States do not properly test them to ensure they’re working properly. Like any other fixture in your home, GFCIs are prone to failure. To avoid potential safety concerns and injuries, we recommend testing all GFCI protected outlets at least once a month and after storms. To test your GFCIs, plug in a small appliance, like a night light, and then press the ‘test’ button. Your appliance should turn off. Then, press the ‘reset’ button to restore power to the outlet. If you find that your outlets are not working correctly, you need to call a qualified electrician for help.
Ready to switch to GFCIs?
Whether you have an older home or are starting new construction from the ground up, our team of experts is ready to jump in and handle GFCI installation or replacement for you! As reliable and knowledgeable electricians, we have the industry know-how and experience to install GFCIs throughout your indoor or outdoor spaces. We’re proud to serve families throughout the Greater Indianapolis area and beyond, and we will treat your home just like we would our own while providing you with the unmatched customer service you deserve. Give us a call at (317) 834-1922 and let us improve the safety and efficiency of your home!