In most parts of the United States, ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets have been required in bathrooms since 1975. So if you’re thinking of having a new bathroom installed or remodeling an existing one, it’s worth being able to answer the question: are GFCI outlets required in bathrooms?
For houses built before 1975, there was no requirement for GFCIs to be installed in residential bathrooms. If you own an older home, you’ll have to upgrade the receptacles if the electrical system in your home is modified.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at what GFCI outlets are and what you need to be aware of when it comes to your bathroom electrical outlets.
What Is a GFCI Outlet?
A GFCI is a type of circuit breaker that shuts off electric power when it senses an imbalance between the outgoing and incoming current. The purpose of these circuit breakers is to prevent electrical shocks from occurring.
Do You Need GFCIs In Your Bathroom?
As we all know, water and electricity don’t mix, so, understandably, there are strict regulations surrounding GFCI outlets.
The National Electric Code states that, at a minimum, a bathroom needs one GFCI-protected outlet. It’s recommended that each bathroom has two or three GFCI protected outlets. The number of outlets you choose to protect is up to you, as long as you have at least one GFCI protected outlet in a bathroom.
You can achieve shock protection with a GFCI circuit breaker in the electrical panel or by installing GFCI outlets. If you’re using a single GFCI outlet for protection, it must be wired for “multiple location” protection; this way, it will protect all the downstream outlets on the same circuit.
Check Local Regulations Regarding GFCIs
Some local codes can vary from the NEC rules, so check with your local building department if you have any questions or concerns.
What’s the Difference Between a GFCI Receptacle and a Circuit Breaker?
A GFCI circuit breaker basically does the same thing as a GFCI receptacle. Consult your trusted electrician to determine which is the right option for your home.
Here are a few points to take into consideration:
- A GFCI circuit breaker will protect everything on that circuit, while a GFCI receptacle only protects the one receptacle and any outlets that are downstream from it.
- Receptacles are easier to install than circuit breakers.
- GFCI receptacles must be installed in locations that are easily accessible.
- A GFCI receptacle usually costs around $15, whereas a GFCI circuit breaker will cost around $50.
Get Help from the Experts at Mr. Electric®
Your local Mr. Electric can handle any GFCI installations or electrical upgrades you may need. You can schedule an appointment online with your local Mr. Electric or call us at (844) 866-1367
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