GFCI Outlet Installation For Dallas Homeowners
GFCI stands for “ground fault circuit interrupter.” They differ slightly from regular outlets in appearance: whereas a non-GFCI outlet just has two sockets, GFCIs have two buttons between the actual 3-prong plugs. One of these buttons will probably be marked “RESET,” and they are generally colored red and black. However, the rectangular or ovular buttons don’t necessarily look the same on all GFICs — although they all serve the same purpose.
Every outlet near a source of water is required to have a GFCI receptacle installed.
There can be several reasons you may want to install a GFCI outlet – maybe it’s worn out, it could have been physically damaged or maybe you just want a new outlet installed in general. Like any other outlet, GFCI outlets will wear out eventually. Kitchen outlets often have small appliances repeated plugged into them and then removed after use – has constant use worn out the springs that keep the plug tight?
Has something damaged the outlet? Grease from the range, striking one in the garage, or filling one outside with water too many times? Or do you just want an additional outlet? Maybe one to power a new freezer in the garage? Whatever the reason, there are a variety of things to consider before wiring in a new GFCI, and it will pay to take a look at them before starting the project.
Where Should GFCI Outlets Be Used?
The National Electric Code gives certain requirements for placement of GFCI outlets in that specific areas are required to have a GFCI outlet rather than a regular outlet. This include:
- Nonlivable areas such as a garage or attic.
- Outdoor areas; the outlet required near the door must be a GFCI.
- Anyplace within 6 feet of a water source or sink. Kitchen counter tops, bathrooms or near a hot tub for instance.
- Service outlets near equipment. An outlet, for instance, near a furnace and intended for use by servicemen must be GFCI protected. These will usually, but not always, fall under one of the other categories as well.
It is often not a good idea to install a GFCI when the intended purpose is to operate a motor driven appliance as motors will occasionally trip the ground fault protection. A freezer in a garage, for example, may trip the GFI but may not be found for days or until the food has thawed and destroyed. Another place might be under the kitchen sink; that is within 6 feet of the sink but a garbage disposal or dishwasher may cause nuisance tripping. Some electrical inspectors or locations may allow exceptions, usually by requiring that a “simplex” outlet, one with just one place to plug into, is used, but not all will. If you want an exception you should check with your city building department.
Importance Of GFCI Outlet
The primary purpose of the GFCI is to protect people from fatal or severe electrical shock. However, this device has also been shown to prevent electrical fires and reduce the severity of other fires by interrupting the flow of electric current. Are you protected in your home? Contact a licensed electrician to install circuit breaker and receptacle-type GFCIs to ensure they are installed properly. Call (214) 238-8353 us for your home service and repair needs.
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