Buying a home or building a home is a stressful event. One of the many areas that we likely do not think about is whether or not there should be a specific number of GFCI outlets in the home. The likelihood that you sit up late at night thinking about how many GFCI outlets are required is slim to none. How many GFCI’s can be on a circuit? GFCI rated outlets are required to prevent electrical shock and electrical fires. It is stated that two or more GFCI outlets can be on the same circuit.
Let’s take a look below at all of our options and determine how many GFCI outlets are best for the home.
What Is A GFCI Circuit
When a ground fault occurs, the GFCI quickly shuts off the power. The acronym GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupters or GFIs. These are safety devices built into outlets that protect against electrical shock. Also, GFCI outlets protect all other outlets that are on the same circuit and this includes any tools or appliances that are plugged into the GFCI outlets. However, protection only includes down the circuit. So, if there is an outlet before the GFCI on the circuit, that outlet is not protected.
Ground fault causes include the following:
- Using damaged cords or wiring
- Using equipment in wet areas
- Plugging in faulty or leaking tools and appliances
Let’s take a look below at how you would reset a tripped GFCI.
The Standard Number Of GFCI’s On One Circuit
You may use two or more GFCI rated outlets on one circuit if you like. However, if one trips or goes bad, all the outlets/GFCIs down the line will be affected. That’s why you should test your GFCI’s monthly to ensure proper operation.
Keep in mind, you only need one GFCI at the beginning of the circuit for GFCI protection for the whole circuit. You might even opt for a GFCI rated breaker instead.
How Are GFCI Outlets Reset
Luckily for the homeowner, a GFCI outlet is easy to reset. They have built-in reset buttons that you will need to push back inward to untrip the outlet connection. Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process for doing this safely.
- Check all outlets. Simply check your appliances to see if they are operational on the circuit and unplug them.
- Go to your circuit breaker. Reset any tripped circuits inside the breaker box.
- Turn the breaker box off. This will allow you to reset the breaker and ensure that it is aligned with all circuits. If the breaker box does not come back on when you flip the circuit to the on position, then you might have a more severe electrical issue.
- Reset the GFCI button now that the circuits have been re-aligned.
Contact your local professional electrician at this time. He or she will be able to troubleshoot your entire electrical scenario at this point.
What Does This Cost
You will want to hire a licensed electrician to convert your outlets to GFCI for the protection of the circuit breakers. Also, the national average for 2 GFCI outlets and interrupters will cost $200.
Other Recommended Maintenance
The GFCI outlets that are installed are tied to the circuit breaker box. Double-check that you don’t have a Challenger GFCI circuit breaker box installed while this version of the circuit breaker has been recalled.
The need for GFCI outlets in your home varies as to how many you need. Consider using tamper-resistant outlets. This saves some of the tools that you plug into the GFCI from being damaged and also prevents electric shock.
Another area to check while you are determining the number of GFCI outlets on a circuit is the type of wiring. Check to see if aluminum wiring has been used or if the wiring needs to be inspected or replaced. Lastly, checking out the wiring allows you to determine any potential fire scenarios caused by the electrical wiring.
When Do I Call A Professional
Call a professional electrician if you want an electrical analysis done and someone to inspect areas in your home. Electrical fires are dangerous and can destroy homes and lives so make your home safe by checking the GFCI outlets and the non GFCI outlets. Lastly, remember that you will only want to keep two GFCI outlets on the same breaker to avoid regular circuit breaker tripping.
Many people fail to inspect the outlets in their homes. The thought about the maintenance needed to maintain a safe home is non-existent. Getting a home inspection done once a year is a great idea. This is especially important if you live in an area where the weather is changing with the seasons. Your outlets could become exposed to harsh temperatures or dampness not otherwise seen in other states.
Often we don’t know if the snow or rain or winds have damaged our GFCI outlets until the inspection is completed. If you need someone to provide a home inspection to recommend any GFCI outlet changes, then reach out to Avalon Home Inspections, we conduct home inspections in Greenville, SC, and Atlanta, GA.