The UL-Listing that is stamped on most electrical products is an important mark that most of the products we sell carry. UL stands for "Underwriters Laboratory". It used to be an Insurance Industry organization, but now it is independent, non-profit organization. It tests electrical components and equipment for potential hazards. When something is UL-Listed, that means that the UL has tested the device, and it meets their requirements for safety (fire or shock hazard). It doesn't necessarily mean that the device is completely harmless; it just means that it probably won't kill you. All of our GFCI Receptacles carry this safety seal.
Many city and state safety organizations strictly enforce the use of UL-listed products in construction and wiring of buildings. Check with local building codes in your area before installing any Non-UL product of any product not certified by a safety organization. The main organization you want to pay attention to is the NFPA or National Fire Protection Association.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) was established in 1896 to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. This organization established and updates The National Electrical Code (NEC). This code, first published in 1897, is used by Electricians the world over when installing the proper electrical outlets and receptacles in the home or industry setting. Since 1961 when the Rucker Manufacturing Company created GFCI Receptacles they have been the receptacle of choice in the home setting. UL is just one of the organizations the NEC recognizes as an approved safety testing organization.
The NFPA and NEC works hand in hand with UL to constantly update their safety and testing protocols. These lists are usually updated on a yearly or bi-yearly basis, and all electrical products must be tested and re-tested in order to comply with these new updated standards. There are some differences from year to year, but do not fret…If you have a GFCI Receptacle from the 2003 list it is safe to use in your home or office, just be sure to test it regularly (UL suggests doing it monthly). If you have an older Home or Office, you might want to change out the GFCI Receptacles to a newer version.
You may have products that are from 2003, and you may be worried that they do not function the same as a newer item. This is not entirely true. Since some products sit on store shelves for a few years until all inventory is exhausted, they are exempt from being pulled off of shelves, and being retested. They are still safe to use, so don’t think you must replace all GFCI Receptacles from that year, just be aware that standards are constantly changing.
An example of the 2003 UL list states that all GFCI Receptacles “Must include enhanced requirements for immunity to voltage surges, resistance to moisture and corrosion, reverse line-load miswiring, and resistance to environmental noise.” This is why GFCI Receptacles are now approved for damp application.
The 2006 UL list adds extra safety precautions to those previously established in 2003. It states: “The new requirements define a GFCI Receptacle’s end of life as occurring when it is incapable of passing its internal test function and require that, when the internal test function is performed, a ground fault circuit interrupter receptacle that has reached its end of life shall either indicate by visual means, audible means or both that the device must be replaced, or render itself incapable of delivering power.” In other words, GFCI Receptacles must be able to let the user know via a light on the wall plate or by emitting sound that it is wired improperly or no longer can perform its duties and must be changed.