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The NEC, or the National Electric Code, requires that all dwelling units install a GFCI for single phase, 125-volt, 15 and 20 amperage receptacles used in the following rooms:
Kitchens: Receptacles supplying countertop areas, dishwashers, and all receptacles in a 1 to 6 feet distance of a sink.
Bathrooms: Every receptacle in a bathroom space requires GFCI.
Garages/Sheds: Floors meeting and below grade level, non-living areas, storage, work, and task areas.
Outdoors: Electrical devices and receptacles on the outside of a structure must be GFI protected. This is unless the receptacle is not easily accessed and/or supplied energy through a branch circuit for floor-based de-icing or snow melting electrical devices.
Unfinished basements and Crawl Spaces: Non-living spaces, storage and work. This also applies to space at or below grade level.
*However, exceptions are made when receptacles solely support a permanent fire or security system, outlets not easily accessible, and on outlets noted for plug-in use only or on branch circuit system.
Laundry Rooms/Wet Bar Sinks/Utility Areas: Any electrical outlets placed in a 6 feet radius of the sink.
Pool and Spa Spaces: All electrical outlets, receptacles up to 20 feet away from the water source, pool cover power source, and pump receptacles.
When issues with an electrical current are detected, the GFCI can be manually reset using the red RESET button and the black TEST button near the middle of the receptacle. The TEST button tests the safety function of the GFI. The safety function is the ability of a GFCI to trip the outlet and shutoff power when there is a fault in the current.
Testing a GFI Outlet:
You can also test your receptacles using alternative devices:
On top of that, GFCI can still supply power to appliances or lights regardless of if the safety function is working. For this reason, it is suggested that you test your receptacle at least once a month.
The most common reasons for your GFCI device to trip are:
If your device does trip, simply click on the RESET button to set it back to operational. However, if it continues, please consult a certified electrician to find the cause before it leads to bigger problem.
Both devices provide the same ground fault protection. GFCI must be tested and reset at the panel while its counterpart happens at the individual outlet. The main difference is that all outlets wired on that circuit breaker will become ground fault interrupter receptacles.
Why would you want the outlet version when the breaker version protects the entire branch? It comes down to cost. On average, the receptacle type is 75% cheaper.
AFCI, Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, provides protection against electrical arcing. This occurs when there is a gap between the path of the current. Once an arc happens, it can lead to an electrical fire.
There are many reasons why this could happen: