Home Improvements – San Jose – Electrical – Upgrading an Outlet to GFCI
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt.
These are sometimes called GFI, but it’s the same thing.
These are outlets with built in circuit breakers.
They have two buttons, one tests the GFCI capability, the other resets the outlet when it trips.
They work even if you don’t have a ground wire.
The outlet has circuitry in it that measure the amount of current coming in and the amount of current going out.
When those two deviate by as little as 5 milli-amps, the assumption is the path to ground is through a person, and the circuit breaker trips.
You should have them everywhere near water, except for the outlet under your kitchen sink into which you plug in your dishwasher and garbage disposal.
Changing a standard outlet to a GFCI outlet is just like changing an outlet, with the following important caveats:
- GFCI outlets are much larger than standard outlets and sometimes they won’t physically fit all the way into the junction box.
- When this occurs, you need to box a “box extender” which extends the box about one half inch into the room to allow the GFCI to fully fit.
- When the outlet you change has “downstream” outlets to which it feeds power, it protects them.
- This means you could lose power to one or more outlets in your home, and the fix will be to find this one and press the reset button.
With those thoughts in mind, if you have a little mechanical ability you can upgrade a regular outlet to a GFCI outlet.
However, if you wish a professional to do this for you, we would appreciate an opportunity to be of service.