Have you seen an outlet with the letters GFI or GFCI on it in your home? Have you wondered what those letters mean and/or why they’re only in some places? A GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, is a very important part of electrical safety. They can help stop excess electricity from causing harm to people or devices in the area surrounding it. The National Electrical Code (NEC) has required GFCI receptacles in homes since 1971. The requirement began with just outdoor receptacles, but as of this year’s NEC, they are also required in many other locations in your home.
Where is GFCI Protection Required?
As of 2023, the NEC requires that GFCI’s are installed in:
- Crawl Spaces
- Laundry Rooms
- Areas With a Water Source
- Outdoor Receptacles
What Causes a Ground Fault?
A ground fault occurs when electricity takes an unexpected path to the ground. This can happen when there is:
- Water or Moisture Present
- Improper Wiring
- A Damaged Receptacle
- Debris in a Receptacle
The most common cause of a ground fault is having water or moisture present. This can be especially dangerous because water can act as a conductor of electricity. If you were to touch the water that has conducted the electricity, you will become the current’s quickest path to the ground. If an outlet that is GFCI protected detects that moisture is present, that outlet and the others it is connected to will turn off or “trip” to prevent someone coming in contact with it and getting shocked. This is why having that protection is important.
We recommend that GFCI receptacles and circuits should be tested once per year. If you have realized that you have no GFCI protection in areas there should be, or that you are unsure how to test your receptacles, give AstroWatt a call to have one of our experienced technicians come out to your home. Our technicians will perform a safety inspection that includes checking for GFCI receptacles where required by the 2023 NEC and improper wiring, among other things. If you live in Cary, Raleigh, Durham, Apex or the surrounding area, give us a call today to get the peace of mind you deserve!