GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets are required in any place that water or moisture is present. So does this mean your laundry room needs a GFCI outlet, too?
It is an important question to ask because it can save you from electrical disasters and accidents. A GFCI will protect your family and pets in case of a power surge or when someone spills water on the floor.
Read on to learn more about how it works, where to put one in your laundry area to protect you from your washing machine, and why you should install a GFCI.
Does My Laundry Room Require GFCI Protection?
Whether or not you will need a ground fault circuit interrupter in your laundry area depends on the location of the washing machine and its proximity to any outlets.
How Does a GFCI Receptacle Work?
A GFCI is needed for outlets powered by single-phase branch circuits rated at 150 volts or less to the ground that is connected to a 125-volt to 250-volt line.
For garages, bathrooms, crawl spaces, laundry rooms, basements, and other places where water is present, GFCI receptacles must be installed. These receptacles are required to have labels that say “No Equipment Ground.”
In plain English, a GFCI outlet works by measuring the difference between current flowing out and coming back in.
If there is a loss of this “balance,” it means that electricity has found an alternate path to ground, which can cause electrical shock or electrocution.
The GFCI protection device prevents this by shutting off the power to the outlet which can help to ensure that no accidents happen.
Where Can You Install a GFCI Outlet?
Now that we know the basics of how it works, where do they go in your home?
There are three main places to install GFCIs: outside outlets for outdoor appliances like pool pumps or garden tools; in kitchens near sinks and garages near water heaters; and in bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, and laundering rooms.
Where to Put a GFCI In Your Laundry Room
In your laundry room, it is important that you have at least one GFCI outlet – and more if necessary.
While this requirement does depend on the size of your washing room, having a few outlets with this safety feature could be helpful in case someone accidentally spills
In your washing machine room, it is a good idea to place a GFCI outlet near the washer and dryer.
This will protect you if water were to spill on the floor while you are doing your laundry.
Be careful to keep your laundry, especially when wet, away from these outlets. Although they guarantee a certain level of safety, they can still be dangerous if you are not careful.
Why You Should Install a GFCI Outlet in Your Laundry Room
Having a GFCI outlet in your laundry room is important for a few reasons. First, it provides an extra layer of safety against electrical shock or electrocution. Second, it can help to prevent fires from starting.
And finally, if there is an electrical accident in your laundry room, a GFCI outlet can help to minimize the damage.
Installing a GFCI outlet in your laundry room may seem like an added hassle, but it is definitely worth it for the safety of you and your family. So be sure to add this to your list of home improvement projects.
Does a Washing Machine Have to Be On a GFCI?
There isn’t a requirement that specifically states that your washing machine itself will need to have GFCI protection, according to the NEC (national electrical code).
This more so depends on the location of the outlet rather than the machine itself. If your washing machine is positioned far away from where water could splash, or high up on the wall, you may not need GFCI protection for it.
However, if your washing machine is close to the ground or in an area where water could easily splash onto it, then you will want to have a GFCI outlet installed nearby.
In general, it is always best to be safe and install a GFCI protected outlet wherever there is a possibility of water being present.
The safety requirements for a home get stricter every day, so it’s a good idea to have the best possible protection so that you don’t have to redo your work to get up to code later on.
Can You Replace a Regular Outlet With GFCI Protection?
The short answer is yes, you can absolutely replace a normal electrical outlet with GFCI outlets.
This will ensure that the appliance plugged in there has functional protection against electrical shock or electrocution in case of an accident.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the outlets themselves aren’t designed for this purpose and therefore may not look the same.
If you are looking to replace an outlet in your home, you may want to call a professional electrician who can help you make sure that everything is installed safely and up to code.
How Much Does an Electrician Charge to Install a GFCI Outlet?
The cost of having someone come in to install a GFCI outlet can vary depending on where you live, how many outlets they are installing, and the time it takes for them to do so.
On average though, expect to pay anywhere from $50 – $100 per hour with an additional minimum charge that could be up to $225 dollars for the outlet itself.
There is usually a minimum hour that you will be charged for, even if your electrician is able to finish faster.
It’s important that you don’t wait too long before calling an electrician if you need one either, since they can book up quickly for projects like this.
The best thing to do would be to start looking into hiring someone several weeks (or even months) in advance of when you may need them.
Can I Install a GFCI Outlet Myself?
Installing a GFCI outlet yourself may seem like an easy task, but it’s actually not recommended by the NEC.
This is because these outlets are rated for 120 volts AC and 15 amps – which means that they need to be installed by someone who has experience with electrical wiring in order to make sure everything runs smoothly.
If you are not properly trained or experienced with this type of electrical work, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk.
If you’re feeling confident with your skills though, you can always try your hand at installing the ground fault circuit interrupter using the instructions from Leviton (suppliers of this GFIC) in the video above.
How to Install GFCI Receptacle Outlets in Your Laundry Area
First, you will need to shut off the power in your home so that you can avoid injury or damage.
Next, remove any existing outlet using a screwdriver and carefully pull it out of place slowly.
Once this is done, use an electric tester to make sure there isn’t still electricity running through the wire before continuing on with the installation.
If there is, you will need to wait until it’s safe to proceed.
Now, take the new outlet and twist it into place so that the screws are facing outwards.
Once this is done, reattach the wires by placing them in the correct spot and screwing them down tightly.
Finally, use a screwdriver to put the outlet cover back on and turn the power back on.
Now any appliance that is plugged into this outlet will have GFCI protection, including your washing machine.
While GFCI protected outlets provide extra safety for your dwelling unit and washing machine, they should not be seen as a replacement for common sense and caution.
Always be mindful of how you are using appliances, especially ones that may pose a risk for water or electrical accidents.