You’ve probably seen GFCI outlets before, but you may not know exactly what they are or why they’re important. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
What Is a GFCI Outlet?
A GFCI outlet is a type of electrical outlet that is designed to protect against ground fault current. Ground fault current occurs when there is a difference in the electrical current between the hot wires and the neutral wires in an electrical circuit. This can happen if there is a short circuit or if one of the wires becomes disconnected. When this happens, the difference in electrical current can cause an electrical shock.
Why Do You Need Them?
GFCI outlets are required by the National Electrical Code (NEC) in areas of the home where there is a risk of electrical shock, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and garages. They are also required in any outdoor areas where there is an electrical outlet. This is because water and electricity can be a dangerous combination. If you were to accidentally drop your hair dryer into a puddle of water while plugging it into a regular outlet, you could be electrocuted. However, if you were to drop your hair dryer into a puddle of water while plugging it into a GFCI outlet, the GFCI would trip and shut off the power before you could be harmed.
Where Should You Put a GFCI Outlet?
In Seattle, all new homes must have at least one GFCI outlet installed in each bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and garage. Outdoor outlets must also be GFCI-protected. If you live in an older home that was built before the NEC required GFCI outlets, you can have them retrofitted by an electrician. It’s also a good idea to install GFCI outlets any time you are doing any sort of remodeling in your home, even if it’s not required by code.
OHM is Here for You!
GFCI outlets are an important part of keeping your home safe from electrical shocks. If you live in Seattle, they are required by code in all new homes as well as any homes that are undergoing remodeling. If you have an older home without any GFCI outlets installed, you can have them retrofitted by an electrician.