GFCI Electrical Outlets in the Bathroom

An outlet on the wall.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
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What You'll Need
GFCI outlet
Insulated screwdrivers
What You'll Need
GFCI outlet
Insulated screwdrivers

If you have home wiring projects to be done where there is water present, you need to install a GFCI electrical outlet. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. It is an outlet that has a built-in circuit breaker designed to protect you from electrical shock and to prevent your home’s circuit breaker panel from shorting out. Instead of solely relying on the fuse to trip — which protects a house from electrical fire — a GFCI outlet provides a localized circuit breaker where the danger of electric shock is highest.

Safety First

Two outlets.

The utmost precautions should be taken when working with electrical and electronics where water is present. In the kitchen and the bathroom, building codes require that a GFCI outlet be installed as the first in a chain. This does not mean that every outlet must have a GFCI, only the first. That way, if there is an imbalance in current flowing from the hot wire to the neutral, the GFCI outlet will detect it and shut off the circuit.

Take safety precautions before you install a GFCI electrical outlet. Most importantly, turn off the circuit breaker feeding the line you are working on. This isn’t a recommendation; it’s a requirement. Secondly, use tools with insulated handles to avoid being a conduit for electrical current. With the right preparation and know-how, installing a GFCI outlet can be done yourself.

Installing the Outlet

Rules for GFCI Outlets and How to Install One, nico rosso

Installing the outlet is a fairly straightforward process.

Step 1 - Turn Off Power

Before you start to install the GFCI outlet, you will need to find it on your circuit breaker and turn off the power. If the room does not have natural light, you may need to use a flashlight

Step 2 - Remove the Plate

Unscrew the outlet from the junction box and remove the plate currently on the outlet. You should mark which wires go to which terminals before removing the old outlet from the wires.

Step 3 - Add New Outlet

Attach the wires you marked to the new GFCI outlet.

Step 4 - Test It

Once the wires are all connected, screw it into place and attach the faceplate. Then turn the power back on and use a circuit tester to see if there is power in the outlet.