GFCI protection is required for 125-volt to 250-volt receptacles supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to the ground. GFCI receptacles are required in bathrooms, garages, crawl spaces, basements, laundry rooms and areas where a water source is present.
The National Electrical Code® requires GFCI protection for 125-volt to 250-volt receptacles supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to the ground in:
GFCI protection is required for all 125-250-volt receptacles rated 50 amps or less, not exceeding 150 volts to ground, supplied by a single-phase branch circuit in:
The National Electric Code® has expanded GFCI requirements in every code change since 1971, including the latest for 2020. These guidelines are adopted as legislation by state. Check with your state or municipality to know which NEC is used in your state.
Ground-fault circuit interrupters, GFCIs or GFIs, are safety devices built into outlets that protect against electrical shock. Their circuitry monitors electrical input. When a ground fault occurs, the GFCI quickly—in a fraction of a second—shuts off the power.
GFCI outlets protect all outlets on the same circuit, as well as connected tools and appliances.
The latest UL Standards require GFCIs to be self-testing. This requirement began in 2015.
There is no difference between GFCI and GFI protection. Ground-fault circuit interrupters are commonly referred to as ground-fault interrupters.
Arc-fault circuit interrupters protect against fires caused by arcing faults that come from faulty or damaged wiring. GFCIs protect against electrical shocks from ground faults.
GFCIs are different than circuit breakers in that they are more sensitive. On their own, circuit breakers only protect against overloads and resulting fires. GFCIs, however, protect against electrical currents that are too low to trip breakers but are more than enough to cause injury. Having both GFCI and circuit breakers helps safeguard against electrical shock and fires.