If you live in an older home, it is possible that you may not even have GFCI outlets in it. That is because they were not required to be installed in homes until 1971, and even then it was only required around swimming pools. It was not until the 1980s that they became required for kitchens and other common areas in the home. If you do not know much about GFCI outlets, these are 3 questions you might have.

What Does A GFCI Outlet Do?

A GFCI electrical outlet will monitor electricity flowing between both the hot and neutral wires inside it. If it detects an imbalance in electrical current, it turns off the outlet completely. This happens instantly, even if the flow of electricity is altered for a fraction of a second.

Why Do You Need A GFCI Outlet?

When electrical current is imbalanced, it is usually because the current is going elsewhere. It is most likely because water got into the outlet and current is traveling out through the water source, or to prevent someone from being electrocuted. That is why it is common to see GFCI outlets in bathrooms and kitchens, because they are near water sources that can cause dangers to you or the home. They are not typically installed in bedrooms or living rooms because of the low risk of accidental electrocution.

Will It Be Required To Upgrade Non-GFCI Outlets?

If you have older outlets in your home that are not GFCI outlets, you can leave them as they are since you're not required to make the upgrade. That said, upgrading to GFCI outlets should be considered in places like your kitchen and bathroom. If there are young kids in the home, even replacing outlets in a living room can help protect them from electrocution.

When doing any sort of home renovation project that requires a permit to move your electrical outlets, those outlets will be required to adhere to the current electrical building codes in your city. Keep in mind that the spaces where GFCI outlets are necessary have greatly expanded over the years. In addition to kitchens and bathrooms, they are now required in your crawl space, laundry room, wet bar, unfinished basement, and garage.

While you can install a GFCI outlet by yourself, you may not be comfortable performing electrical work in your home. Contact a local electrical contractor that can take care of this electrical upgrade for you.