While installing an outlet, an electrician or a professional will often recommend you a GFCI outlet. Many people resist installing the GFCI outlet. People often think that these outlets are expensive as compared to the normal ones. Before you decide based on that, you have to ask yourself, are GFCI outlets required?
Today, I will answer this question in greater detail for you. Rather than providing a one-word answer, I will justify my answer as well.
If you’re in 2 minds regarding GFCI outlets, this article can certainly help you out.
Are GFCI outlets required?
Yes, GFCI outlets are required. They are mandatory in certain parts of your home since 1971. Ever since then, the scope of use of the GFCI outlets is increasing at a rapid pace.
There are quite a few reasons why GFCI outlets are required. I will highlight all these reasons below to provide you with a clear picture.
Reasons why GFCI outlets are required:
In total, there are 6 critical reasons why GFCI outlets are required. These include:
1. NEC rules:
According to National Electric Code, there are multiple rooms in your home where you need to use GFCI outlets. Even outside, there are a few places where you need to use GFCI outlets.
When you’re hiring an electrician to install electrical outlets, often he/she will follow the NEC code. It is one of the main reasons why electricians recommend GFCI outlets.
2. Wet room protection:
Rooms like bathroom, kitchen are considered as wetrooms. The NEC mandates that in wet rooms, you use a GFCI outlet. Using any other outlet in such rooms is not advisable.
Whenever there is a ground fault due to moisture or humidity or any other reason, the gfci outlet will shut itself down. It can do so even when the variation is as low as a few milliamps. That will ensure no risk of electrical shocks in the walls or on any other surface.
Wet rooms like bathrooms and kitchens are used by kids, pets as well as adults alike. While adults might take a few precautions to keep themselves safe, kids and pets will not. They are at high risk of suffering from an electric shock.
To avoid all this problem, it is a good idea to use gfci outlets in wet rooms.
3. Protecting kids and pets:
Kids and pets will often come in contact with the surface and walls in every room. While pets might not lean on walls for support but they often come in contact with the walls.
On the other hand, kids often use walls to get support or walk around or move around the home.
If the current is leaking due to a ground fault, both of them are at high risk.
You cannot afford the walls or surface of your home to be so risky. It is the primary reason why GFCI outlets are required in many places around the house.
4. To protect HVAC equipment:
According to the latest NEC, a GFCI outlet is required for HVAC equipment as well.
HVAC equipment requires a significant amplitude of the current. If the same current starts leaking to the ground or through the walls, it can be quite dangerous for the premises’ occupants.
Moreover, continuous variations in current can damage HVAC equipment as well.
Both these situations are not desirable at all.
To protect HVAC equipment and the home occupants, a GFCI outlet is required for the same.
5. Perfect for outdoor use:
Want to install an outlet outdoors?
If so, you need to think about using a GFCI outlet.
When you’re installing the outlet outdoors for installing things like Outdoor light with a gfci outlet, you have to take into account the elements of weather. Frequently, such outlets experience humidity as well as water. It is especially true in the rainy season. Due to the same, the current might leak into the ground. When that happens, the risk of suffering from an electrical shock increases manifold.
Moreover, people hardly maintain the outdoor outlets. Even if the new outlets do not leak current, there are high chances that the older outlets will. In that case, once again, the probability of suffering from an electric shock increases manifold.
To avoid all this, whenever you’re installing an outdoor outlet, it is a good idea to go with a GFCI outlet. The GFCI outlet not only has long durability but ensures that ground fault will not occur.
It will help you avoid the risk of shock as well as damage to the outdoor light.
6. Leakage issues:
There are many walls through which pipes pass through. Usually, the construction of the walls in the pipes is such that there is no water percolation.
Over some time, the leakage might develop in the pipes or the wall. Due to the same, water might percolate through.
When a wall is wet or humid, the risk of the current flowing through it is pretty high.
In majority of the cases, you won’t notice anything unusual when that happens.
The appliance connected to an outlet that is leaking current might function properly as well.
Owing to this reason, it is tough to detect this problem.
However, when someone comes in contact with such a wall, he might suffer a shock.
Due to the leakage issue, NEC requires that you use GFCI outlets wherever possible, especially when the outlet is in contact with such a wall.
These are the 6 reasons why GFCI outlets are required in our homes and various other premises.
So yes, GFCI outlets are required according to NEC guidelines. There are numerous reasons as well because you should opt for GFCI outlets. Rather than thinking about GFCI outlets as optional outlets, you have to use them compulsorily. Additionally, you shouldn’t look at the extra cost of the GFCI outlets and instead look at their safety.
In case you’re wondering which ones you should buy, you can refer to my post Outdoor light with gfci outlet – Top 5 best outdoor light fixture with gfci outlet to choose the best lights.