Are you planning to buy a GFCI outlet?
If so, when you try to buy one, there would be numerous options available. You cannot randomly pick a GFCI outlet. It is essential to understand which GFCI outlet is suitable for which purpose. Only when you are aware of that can you choose the right GFCI outlet.
In my today’s post, I will answer this question. I will also highlight in which circumstances you should buy which type of GFCI outlet.
Which gfci outlet to buy?
There are a few things on which the choice of your GFCI outlet will depend. I will highlight these things below.
The first thing to keep in mind is the application for which you will use the GFCI outlet.
The application matters a lot because the current rating of the GFCI outlets can vary. You can buy a 15 A GFCI outlet or a 20 A GFCI outlet.
It depends on the gadget which you are going to connect to the GFCI outlet.
If you want to connect heavy duty load, it is a good idea to go with a 20 A GFCI outlet.
If you want to power a lamp or a bulb, you can go with a 15 A GFCI outlet.
Thus, a lot depends on the application for which you are going to use the GFCI outlet.
2. Place of installation:
The place of installation will also determine the type of GFCI outlet which you choose.
If you plan to install the GFCI outlet outdoors, installing a tamper-resistant one is a good idea.
The tamper-resistant one has a built-in shutter. With the help of the built-in shutter, nobody can access it easily. It can specifically protect the outlet from pets as well as children.
When you’re installing it outdoors, it is necessary to go with such an outlet. Once you do so, you will not have to worry about changing the GFCI outlet due to it getting tripped repeatedly.
The weather you have in your area will also determine the type of GFCI outlet you choose.
If you often experience heavy rains, it is good to go with the GFCI outlet, which is weather resistant.
According to NEC, you need to install GFCI outlets in areas that are wet and humid. These include garages, patios, man caves, sheds, and so on.
All these areas will experience heavy humidity if you experience rain in your vicinity.
If you do not install weather-resistant GFCI outlets, they experience extreme corrosion. The corrosion and rust will ensure that they will fail to work sooner than later.
To avoid all these problems, it is a good idea to go with the weather-resistant GFCI outlet.
Once you go with them, they will last for years together. Also, they will power the load consistently without any fluctuation.
If you want to install it outdoors and experience heavy rains throughout the year, it is a good idea to go with the weather-resistant GFCI outlets.
Want to opt for GFCI outlets that require little to no maintenance?
If so, it is a good idea to go with self-testing GFCI outlets. These will automatically adjust the outlets for any leakage current.
After the testing, they will indicate the status. A single glance at the GFCI outlet will let you know whether they are working properly or not.
When they are not working properly, they will trip themselves. The circuit will be disconnected. When that happens, there is no chance of electrocution.
The self-testing design means that you need not periodically test them. They will do so on their own.
When you’re installing multiple GFCI outlets in your home or installing outlets in difficult-to-reach places, you should go with the self-testing ones. They can certainly make things safer and easier for you.
When you consider these four criteria for choosing the GFCI outlet types, it will become easier for you to choose the perfect one.
What should you do if you have installed the wrong GFCI outlet?
Many times, it might so happen that you have installed the wrong GFCI outlet. The question which arises is, what should you do in such a case?
I will share with you three solutions to this problem.
1. Continue with the same:
If the load you are attaching is not that heavy, you can continue with the same outlet. You can also continue with the same outlet if it is not installed outdoors.
In that case, the wrong GFCI outlet will work appropriately. You can derive the same function from that outlet.
2. Replace if the load is expensive:
In case the load is expensive, you should replace the GFCI outlet right away.
The reason for the same is because if you continue with the same GFCI outlet, the load might get damaged. The cost of replacing the load or repairing it will be much higher than the cost of replacing the GFCI outlet.
To avoid such an unnecessary expense, it is a good idea to replace the GFCI outlet.
3. Replace if the risk is high:
Many times, if the GFCI outlet is installed outdoors, the risk of electrocution is high. That is why the wrong GFCI outlet will not serve you well.
This is especially true when you have installed a non-weather-resistant GFCI outlet in place of a weather-resistant one.
Due to corrosion and humidity, they can lead to leakage current, which can lead to electrocution.
Also, if you have pets or kids around, then too it makes complete sense to replace the GFCI outlet in time.
You do not have to look at the cost of the new GFCI outlet or the cost of installation.
Thus, these are the three things that you can do when you have installed the wrong GFCI outlet by mistake.
Once you go through my guide above, it will certainly become easier for you to understand the different types of GFCI outlets and which one you should buy for every application. By following the guide above, you can avoid the mistake of choosing the wrong GFCI outlet.
There are integrated GFCI outlets with light fixtures as well. I have covered such outdoor lights with the GFCI outlets in my post here. Once you go through this post here, it will become easier for you to choose such a light that comes with a GFCI outlet.