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Do Garage Outlets Need To Be GFCI

By October 18, 2021Electrical
GFCI with test and reset buttons

Building a home or buying a home is a stressful event. One of the many areas during this process that we likely do not consider is whether or not the outlets in the garage should be GFCI. The likelihood that you sit up late at night thinking about which outlets are required in a garage is probably slim to none. Do garage outlets need to be GFCI? Yes, GFCI rated outlets are required for the garage and garage door openers.

Let’s take a look below at all of our options and determine why the GFCI is most important in our garage.

GFCI garage outlet example
GFCI garage outlet example.

What Are Garage Outlet GFCI’s

The acronym GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupters or GFIs. These are safety devices are built into outlets that protect against electrical shock. The circuitry monitors electrical input. When a ground fault occurs, the GFCI quickly shuts off the power. 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. Ground fault causes include the following happenings:

  • Using equipment in wet areas 
  • Plugging in faulty or leaking tools and appliances                                                            
  • Using damaged cords or wiring      

Difference Between GFCI and GFI

Believe it or not, there is no difference between a GFCI and a GFI. Ground-fault circuit interrupters or ground-fault interrupters are essentially synonymous with each other.

Garage outlet GFCI swap
Garage outlet GFCI swap

Why You Need GFCI Garage Outlets

The National Electricity Code says that GFCI-protected outlets are required for garages. Your local building codes will also state that outlets must be GFCI. This change to the code took effect back in 2008 for all 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-amp outlets. GFCI’s are also required according to the International Residential Code, or IRC. 

The code also states that GFCI is necessary for the outlets for garages that are at or below ground level. The reason is there’s a high risk of flooding or other water damage with a lower floor, and the outlets must be able to shut off quickly.

Circuit breaker box with tripped circuit
Circuit breaker box with a tripped circuit

Do Garage Outlet GFCI’s Cost Extra

Lacking GFCI outlets in your garage is an issue. You will want to hire a licensed electrician to convert your outlets to GFCI for the protection of your garage. The national average for 2 GFCI outlets and interrupters will cost $174. If you would like to attempt this replacement yourself, you can complete the project for around $40.

Other Recommended Maintenance

During the time that you are ensuring the GFCI outlets are installed in your garage, this is a great time to read up on how to put out an electrical fire. You never know when an outlet might become overheated and start a fire. You can contain the fire to a central location if you know how to handle this scary situation.

While you are determining the need for GFCI outlets in your garage and how many you will need. You should also consider using tamper-resistant outlets. Not only will this save some of the tools that you plug into them from being damaged, but they also prevent electric shock.

Although you have installed GFCI outlets into your garage, the outlets are tied to the circuit breaker box. Also, double-check that you don’t have a Challenger GFCI circuit breaker box installed. This version of the circuit breaker has been recalled.

When Do I Call A Professional

Electrical fires are dangerous and can destroy homes and lives.  Making sure your home is safe by checking the GFCI outlets and the non GFCI outlets is important.  Call a professional electrician if you want an electrical analysis done and someone to inspect areas in your home.  Professional electricians are trained to ensure that your home is safe and the outlets and wiring are up to code.

Conclusion

Many people that have garages fail to inspect the outlets in their garages. The thought about the maintenance needed to maintain a safe garage is non-existent. Getting a garage 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. Call on Boggs Inspection Services to get your yearly home inspection completed in the Lacey, WA, and surrounding areas.

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