GFCI Outlets Required: A Life and Death Matter

You can’t turn on the television these days without running across a home makeover show. How many of the Top 12 home remodeling shows (ranked by Insider online magazine) can you name:

  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
  • Flip or Flop
  • Flipping Out
  • Property Brothers
  • Love It or List It
  • Design on a Dime
  • Million Dollar Decorators
  • Queer Eye
  • Fixer Upper
  • Grand Designs
  • This Old House
  • Trading Spaces.

 Some people, myself included, binge on these Netflix and Hulu series culling ideas to use myself. The concepts are inspiring enough to get me off the sofa and surveying my surroundings. Maybe the most appealing factor is that the projects are completed within the one hour show. That never happens in real life!

 The National Association of Home Builders reported May 1, 2018 that bathrooms have overtaken kitchens as the room most remodeled in a home.

 Of course, the budget drives how deep a homeowner can go in remodeling any room in the house. Thumbtack.com, an online service that matches customers with local professionals, reports that bathroom remodels in the Denver, Colorado market run on average $3,000 to $25,000.

 Entry level remodeling projects like repainting and replacing the shower curtain rod are minimal investment. Plus, you don’t need professional certification to do either. But when it comes to changing out electrical parts—light fixtures and outlets—it’s time to call in a pro that knows the code.

GFCI outlets are required in all new construction, including remodeled parts of your home. The National Electrical Code (NEC) states that GFCI outlets are required for all 15 amp, 20 amp and 125 volt outlets or higher in bathrooms.

 GFCI outlets help prevent shock and electrocution. GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. GFCI outlets, also called residual current devices (RCD) cut off power as soon as any kind of power imbalance is detected. These outlets have two push buttons—“test” and “reset”—on the face of the outlet plate. If the outlet trips for any reason, just push the buttons to reset the electrical function.

 In July 2017, the story of a teen electrocuted in the bathtub in New Mexico while using her cell phone went viral. Just prior to her death, the girl snapped a photo of her phone hooked up to an extension cord and texted out the message below: 

That was her last text.

The phone was plugged into a non-GFCI outlet. Investigators believe the teen was soaking in the tub and touched the extension cord on the frayed part of the cord burning her hand and causing death by electrocution.

The distraught family has been active in promoting the warning to teens and people of all ages that water and electricity can be deadly.

Make sure your electrical sockets are located a safe distance away from the shower and/or bathtub.

Never use hairdryers, electric razors, electric curlers and flat irons, or other electrical devices—radios, tape players and televisions—in the bathroom when you are standing in or otherwise in contact with standing water.

Don’t use an electric heater in the bathroom unless it is hardwired into a circuit with GFCI and it should be installed in the wall or ceiling vs. free-standing.

Safety should be common sense. But people get careless. And it’s particularly important to repeat the dangers to remind children how to be safe in the bathroom.

If you have plans for a bathroom remodel or a whole home remodel, contact Allstar Electrical for a professional estimate. Allstar’s electricians are able to point homeowners to safe and effective choices. Call us today at (303) 399-7420