GFCI: What’s the big deal?
During a typical home inspection, it is highly likely, especially on older homes, to be missing GFCI protection somewhere throughout the home. Those larger outlets with the colored buttons in the middle. Those are GFCI outlets. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. Bear with me a moment while I get a little technical. A GFCI device is designed to protect electrical wiring by causing the circuit to break whenever an imbalance occurs between outgoing and incoming circuitry. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about what it means for the homeowner, why it’s NOT something to panic about, and why you SHOULD still buy that dream house of yours even if it needs GFCI protection.
GFCI: What does it mean for the homeowner?
Most people understand the dangers of electricity and water. If you somehow missed that lesson growing up, then let me teach you now. Water and electricity are not friends!! They do not play well together!! All joking aside, it is important for areas inside or outside the home with proximity to water to have GFCI protected outlets. As a result, bathrooms, garages, outdoor receptacles, crawl spaces, basements, kitchens, and anything within six feet of a sink or water source should have GFCI protection. Basically, it makes your home safer. GFCI outlets will be able to detect if something is not right and very quickly (less than one-tenth of a second) will remove power from that location.
GFCI: Why it’s not something to panic about and why you SHOULD still move forward with your purchase
Missing GFCI protection in areas of your new home is not the end of the world. If you love the house do not pass it up just because GFCI protection is not present. GFCI outlets are simple to install and do not require extensive drywall damage or re-wiring. One GFCI outlet can be purchased at your local hardware store for around $15. If you feel like doing it yourself after watching a couple of YouTube videos, go for it, just make sure power is OFF. Or you can hire an electrician to install them for you.