Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI/GFI) outlets are required in every home. They are an important electrical safety feature that can prevent powerful shocks. Apex provides expert GFCI/GFI outlet installation in Columbus, OH, homes where required by the latest regulations. Our expertise and prompt service help ensure your property is safe and code-compliant.
Understanding GFCI/GFI Outlets
A GFCI/GFI outlet constantly monitors the amount of current flowing through it, specifically the difference between the current flowing from the hot slot to the neutral slot. It maintains the normal flow of power if these are balanced. But if an imbalance occurs, the outlet can trip the circuit in 1/30th of a second. Therefore, you won’t be shocked by using an electrical device exposed to water or touching an exposed wire.
GFCI outlets are a little larger than standard electrical outlets. A GFI outlet is also identified by the “Reset” and “Test” buttons on the front. These enable you to either restore power after the outlet trips or perform a quick test to make sure it’s working. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires GFCI protection for:
- 125-volt to 250-volt receptacles on single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to the ground.
- Bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, garages, basements, and anywhere a water source is present.
- Within 6 feet of a water source, water-using appliance, or pool.
Signs You Require GFCI/GFI Outlet Installation
Having GFCI/GFI receptacles installed prevents electrical shock hazards and complies with electrical codes and regulations. However, there are also signs you need GFCI outlets installed. Some common indications you need them include:
- Lack of GFCI Protection in Wet Areas: If there are no GFI outlets near sinks, a kitchen countertop, a washing machine, or a water heater, have an electrician install them where needed.
- Tripping Circuit Breakers in Specific Locations: Exposure to water and moisture can cause electrical shorts, potentially leading to serious damage.
- Older Homes Without GFCI Outlets: GFCI outlets were not legally required until 2023 (before then, they were recommended for older homes). Since 1975, they’ve been required for bathrooms and outdoor receptacles, but with requirements having been expanded, older homes may not have GFIs in all specified locations.
- Electrical Outlets Near Water Sources: If you have receptacles near sinks and other water sources that don’t provide GFCI protection, call an electrician to update them ASAP.
Apex’s GFCI/GFI Outlet Installation Services
Our electricians provide all types of GFCI/GFI outlet installation services in Columbus. They can retrofit existing outlets with GFCI protection, minimizing the amount of work and disruption, and install weather-resistant GFCI outlets outdoors, for example, near a deck, backyard, or outdoor kitchen. We can also create a plan to install GFI protection based on the layout of your home to improve safety and comply with local electrical codes.
In addition, our team can install different types of GFCI outlets, including:
- Standard GFCI Outlets: These work like conventional outlets and have “Test” and ”Reset” buttons. Some include small lights to reveal their location in the dark or indicate their power status.
- Single- vs. Multi-Location Outlets: A single-location outlet offers protection at a single receptacle, while a multiple-location unit protects all outlets and devices downstream.
- GFCI Circuit Breakers: If you need to protect an entire circuit, you can install a GFCI circuit breaker in the main electrical panel; this is an effective way to protect the kitchen or an outdoor area.
Other types include self-testing GFCI receptacles, tamper-resistant GFCIs, and GFCI light switch combination devices suited for bathrooms or laundry rooms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is GFCI testing important?
Regular testing of a GFCI outlet is important to ensure it’s working properly. The process is simple. To test the receptacle, press the “Test” button; the outlet should turn off. Once this happens, push the “Reset” button to restore power. Each device should be tested monthly to ensure it provides ongoing protection.
Why do I need GFCI outlets in my home?
The NEC requires GFCI receptacles in bathrooms, kitchens, and anywhere within six feet of a water source or water-using appliance to protect against shocks and electrocution.
Can I install GFCI outlets myself?
Any errors when installing a GFCI outlet can prevent it from working or make it dangerous to use. All installation work should be left to an experienced electrician.
What is the lifespan of a GFCI outlet?
The lifespan of a GFCI outlet depends on the electrical load and how frequently it trips. It may fail after just five years, but some outlets can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years.
Do GFCI outlets provide surge protection?
The outlet can trip in the event of a power surge. However, its primary purpose is to detect current imbalances when water and electricity mix so it won’t trip for every power surge. On its own, a GFCI does not provide overload protection.
Are GFCI outlets required in older homes?
They are now required in older homes, as the majority of house fires are caused by electrical problems related to faulty outlets, light fixtures, extension cords, space heaters, and wiring.
How do I perform GFCI outlet maintenance?
Aside from monthly testing, a GFI receptacle doesn’t require much maintenance. However, be sure to inspect it for signs of wear or damage (and replace it if necessary), and keep it clean from dirt and debris. If a GFCI outlet malfunctions, replace it immediately.
Schedule Professional GFCI/GFI Outlet Installation
At Apex, we’re committed to maintaining and improving electrical safety in Columbus, OH, homes. Installing GFCI/GFI outlets prevents electrical hazards such as shock and electrocution. Our expertise enables us to determine if you need GFCI protection installed or if existing receptacles need to be replaced. Whether you lack protection or have concerns about your protective electrical devices, schedule an appointment online or call (614) 810-8870.