Questions About GFCI Outlets? APEC Electric Has Answers! Serving North GA.
Do you have an electrical question? APEC Electrical Contractors want to provide answers that keep you and your family safe, and your home electrical systems functioning properly. Here are some GFCI electrical outlet guidelines from the experienced electricians at APEC Electric:
What’s the difference between a GFCI outlet and a GFCI circuit breaker?
The are two types of GFCIs in homes, the GFCI outlet and the GFCI circuit breaker. Both do the same job, but each has different applications and limitations. The GFCI outlet is actually a replacement for a standard electrical outlet. It does not measure shorts to the ground, it measures the current difference between the hot and neutral wires. A sudden difference of 5 ma. or more, indicating that there is another path for the electricity to flow through, will trip this device. A GFCI outlet protects any appliance plugged into it, and can also be wired to protect other outlets that are connected to it.
The GFCI circuit breaker controls an entire circuit, and is installed as a replacement for a circuit breaker on your home’s main circuit board. Rather than install multiple GFCI outlets, one GFCI circuit breaker can protect the entire circuit. There is a test button and a reset button on these units. If you press the test button the reset should pop out. To reset just push the reset button in.
Where do I need a GFCI outlet?
GFCI outlets must be installed in any area where electricity and water may come into contact, including basements, pools, spas, utility rooms, attached garages and outdoors. Any bathroom or garage outlet within 6′ of a sink must be GFCI protected. The code also requires all kitchen outlets for countertop use to be GFCI protected. At least one GFCI outlet is required in an unfinished basement and for most outdoor outlets.
Do my lights need to be GFCI protected?
No, it’s not a good idea to put lights on GFCI protected circuits so you aren’t left in the dark if the circuit trips. Generally, equipment such as refrigerators, freezers and sump pumps that cannot go without electrical power for an extended period of time without causing costly losses or property damage should not be placed on a GFCI protected circuit.