Since 1975, ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in restrooms have been required in the majority of the United States. Therefore, whether you’re considering installing a new bathroom or remodeling an existing one, it’s worthwhile to know the answer to the following question: Are GFCI outlets necessary in bathrooms?
There was no requirement for GFCIs to be installed in residential bathrooms before to 1975. If you own an older house, you’ll need to upgrade the receptacles if you modify the electrical system.
With this in mind, let’s examine what GFCI outlets are and what you should know about bathroom electrical outlets.
What Is a GFCI Outlet?
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a type of circuit breaker that automatically cuts off electricity when it detects an imbalance between the outgoing and incoming current. These circuit breakers are used to prevent electrical shocks.
Are GFCIs Required in Your Bathroom?
As we all know, water and electricity do not mix, which is why GFCI outlets are subject to stringent rules.
According to the National Electrical Code, a restroom must have at least one GFCI-protected outlet. Each bathroom should have two or three GFCI-protected outlets. The number of outlets covered is entirely up to you, as long as each bathroom has at least one GFCI protected outlet.
Shock protection can be accomplished by installing a GFCI circuit breaker in the electrical panel or by installing GFCI outlets. If a single GFCI outlet is used for protection, it must be wired for “multiple location” protection; this ensures that the outlet protects all downstream outlets on the same circuit.
Verify Local GFCI Regulations
Certain municipal regulations may deviate from the NEC guidelines; thus, if you have any questions or concerns, contact your local building department.
What’s the Difference Between a GFCI Receptacle and a Circuit Breaker?
A GFCI circuit breaker functions similarly to a GFCI receptacle. Consult with a reputable electrician to discover which choice is best for your property.
Consider the following points:
- A GFCI circuit breaker covers the whole circuit, whereas a GFCI receptacle protects only the receptacle and any downstream outlets.
- Circuit breakers are more difficult to install than receptacles.
- GFCI receptacles must be located in conveniently accessible areas.
- A GFCI outlet is typically approximately $15, whereas a GFCI circuit breaker is over $50.