GFCI Outlets and Where These 15-20 Amp Receptacles Belong

Leviton 15 Amp Ground Fault Circuit Interrupting Power Plug With Outdoor CoverDo you have a question about a GFCI outlet? Free over the phone consultations are offered by the local Mesa electricians at Dolce Electric Company. Our in-office electrician in Mesa AZ will answer all of your questions. He will clarify where indoor and outdoor GFCI receptacles are required and help you determine why your device keeps tripping, will not reset or is not working. Our local Mesa AZ electricians are available from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM today, Tuesday, July 25th, 2017. Inquire today during regular business hours and get the information that you are looking for.

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What is a GFCI Outlet and why are They Very Important?

GFCI electrical outlets are the receptacles (often rectangular in shape) with the two buttons on them labeled “reset” and “test”. G.F.C.I. stands for ground fault circuit interrupter but they are sometimes referred to simply as GFI’s. They work by constantly comparing the electricity being delivered on the hot side to the electricity returning on the neutral side. When these devices detect even the smallest difference between the two sides the device shuts down by tripping almost instantly. They do this for safety when electricity is leaking out of the circuit somewhere, possible through a person being electrocuted.

GFCI protected outlets that are not working properly are a safety hazard. If you want to check to see if your GFI receptacles are working properly push the test button. This should cut the power immediately, which confirms that it is capable of tripping and working correctly. After testing, push the reset button to restore your protected power.

So why are these devices so important? They are safety devices that are specifically designed and strategically installed in your circuiting to keep you and your loved ones protected from electrical injury.

Where Do Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters Belong?

Ground fault circuit interrupting receptacles or other forms of ground fault circuit interrupter protection are required by the national electrical code for all 15 amp and 20 amp outlets operating at 120 volts in the following residential areas:

  • Kitchens and Wet Bar Areas:
    All 15 and 20 amp plug sockets that serve kitchen counter top areas require ground fault circuit interrupter protection. This includes island counter tops and any plug socket that is within six feet of the outside edge of a sink. Exceptions include plug sockets specifically designated and installed for dishwashers, garbage disposals, refrigerators, ice makers and water heaters.
  • Bathrooms:
    All 15 and 20 amp plug sockets in bathrooms require GFI protection. Exceptions include designated power for point of use water heaters and disconnecting means for ceiling exhaust fans.
  • Garages:
    All receptacles in the garage are required to have ground fault circuit interrupter protection. Exceptions include ceiling outlets for garage door openers and installing dedicated circuits that are identified and located specifically for plug-and-cord connected appliances like refrigerators and freezers.
  • Storage Areas, Sheds, Unfinished Basements, Crawl Spaces and Workshops:
    All plug sockets require ground fault circuit interrupter protection. Exceptions include installing dedicated circuits that are identified and located specifically for plug-and-cord connected appliances like sump pumps, refrigerators and freezers.
  • Outdoors:
    All receptacles outside of a dwelling unit, including any plug sockets installed under the eaves of roofs for holiday decorations are required to be GFCI outdoor outlets. The only exception is when installing snow melting or de-icing equipment where the receptacle is not readily accessible. Surface mounted or exposed electrical boxes and covers must be outdoor rated for all applications regardless of the use. When devices like landscape lights, watering time clocks or fountains are constantly plugged in, consider installing “while-in-use” covers for additional durability.
  • Swimming Pools:
    All plug sockets that supply power to pool equipment must be GFCI outdoor receptacles. This includes pool lights and power operated pool covers. Additionally, any receptacle that supplies power to pool motors, including 15 amp and 20 amp – 240 volt plug sockets, require working ground fault circuit protection without exception. Every outdoor GFCI outlet requires enclosure in an exterior rated box and cover. Visit our pool electricians page for more information.

A GFCI power outlet should be used in all places where electrical power is accessible and moisture or water is present. In all cases a 15 amp GFCI outlet should be used with a 15 amp circuit and a 20 amp GFCI outlet should be used with a 20 amp circuit. You may discover that a 15 amp device has been used on a 20 amp circuit in your home. According to the electrical code a 20 amp GFI receptacle is required.

If you have further questions, contact our local in-office electricians in Mesa Arizona. They have been voted best electricians Mesa AZ and will gladly clear up any questions about where ground fault circuit interrupters are needed. We schedule an electrician Mesa AZ homeowners and businesses can call 7 days a week for help. Call today; you will be happy you did!

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Learn how to install a GFCI receptacle in a new locationLearn about wiring a GFCI outletLearn about replacing a ground Fault circuit interrupter outletLearn how to troubleshoot a ground fault circuit interrupter receptacle not working issue
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