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GFCI required locations in Texas

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Electrical safty devices

What's A GFCI?

A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is an electrical device that detects the current imbalance between two conductors in order to detect faults on either side of the line. This allows for protection against shock hazards associated with electric power lines.

  • History of GFCI

    GFCI has been in use for quite some time, and in fact, it became mandatory according to the National Electrical Code (NEC) in 1971.

  • 1st required locations

    In 1971, the NEC mandated the use of GFCI for all outdoor outlet locations, while it was only required for bathroom receptacles in 1975.

  • Who invented

    Charles Dalziel invented the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter( GFCI) in 1961.

Photo of a GFCI not resetting during testing.
  • 13

    Years of Experience

  • Over

    3,000 inspections completed

  • 10

    Year InterNachi member

Circuit protections

How Does A GFCI Work?

When you plug something into your wall socket, it creates a small amount of electricity which travels through the wires inside the wall. If there is any problem with the wiring or if there are loose connections, this can cause an electrical short and allow electricity to travel along another path. This could be dangerous because it could result in an electrical shock. When a GFCI senses a difference in voltage, it trips and shuts off the flow of electricity. This prevents the possibility of an electrical shock.

Primary action
Photo of a GFCI
Death from shock

Top Reasons for Using GFCIs

1. Electrical safety – GFCIs are designed to protect people from electrical shocks and electrocutions caused by ground faults. This type of safety device can detect imbalances in electrical currents and quickly shut off power to prevent accidents.

2. Compliance with building codes – The Texas Real Estate Commission requires the use of GFCI protection in certain areas of the home, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor locations. Compliance with these rules is necessary to ensure that homes meet safety standards and are less likely to pose electrical hazards.

3. Protection for property owners – Installing GFCIs in critical areas of the home helps to protect property owners from legal liability in case of electrical injuries or accidents. Implementing this safety measure can also help to reduce the risk of property damage caused by electrical fires or other hazards.

4. Prevention of electrical fires – GFCIs can help to prevent electrical fires by detecting ground faults and shutting off power. This important safety feature helps to reduce risks associated with electrical equipment malfunction, overheating, or short circuits.

5. Peace of mind – Using GFCIs can provide homeowners and property owners with a greater sense of security and peace of mind. Knowing that the home is protected by electrical safety devices can help to relieve stress and anxiety associated with the risk of electrical hazards.

Wet Locations

Where are GFCIs required in residential homes in Texas?

In Texas, the use of a Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is mandatory in certain locations. This electrical safety device is designed to protect people from electrical shocks and electrocutions by shutting off power when it detects a ground fault. Here are some of the locations in Texas where GFCI is required:


1. Bathrooms: All receptacles in bathrooms must be GFCI-protected, including those located within six feet of a sink, shower, or bathtub.

2. Kitchens: GFCI protection is required for all receptacles serving countertops, including those above the dishwasher, refrigerator, or sink.

3. Garages and outdoor areas: All receptacles located in garages, carports, basements, and outdoors must be GFCI-protected. This includes receptacles used for power tools or gardening equipment.

4. Laundry rooms and Dishwashers

5. Swimming pools and hot tubs: All outdoor receptacles within 20 feet of a swimming pool or hot tub must be GFCI-protected.

6. Dryer Breakers

7. unfinished  Basements

8. Wet bars

9. crawl spaces

10. Commercial and industrial workplaces: GFCI protection is required in all areas where electrical equipment is used and where there is a risk of electrical shock, including factories, construction sites, and warehouses.

It is important to note that GFCI requirements in Texas may vary depending on the building code and local regulations, so it’s best to consult with a licensed electrician to ensure compliance.

Ground-fault Interrupter

How do I reset a GFCI receptacle?

GFCIs are designed to automatically shut off power when they detect an imbalance in electrical currents, also known as a ground fault. When a GFCI trips, it cuts the power supply to connected devices or electrical outlets, which can be frustrating but it is a safety feature that can help prevent electrical hazards. If you experience a GFCI trip, here are some steps to follow to reset it:

1. Unplug all devices – Before resetting your GFCI, make sure that all connected devices are unplugged or turned off. This will prevent any electrical surges or damage to the devices.

2. Find the GFCI outlet – Look for the outlet with a “test” and “reset” button, which are usually located in the kitchen, bathroom, garage, or basement.

3. Test the outlet – Press the “test” button to shut off the power to the outlet. If the “reset” button pops out, the GFCI was working properly. If it does not pop out, the GFCI outlet might be faulty and needs replacement.

4. Reset the outlet – After you have completed the previous step, press the “reset” button to restore power to the outlet. If the reset button does not work, then it could be likely due to a fault in the device or electrical wiring.

If the GFCI trips repeatedly or if you’re unable to reset the GFCI after following the above steps, contact a licensed electrician to inspect the GFCI outlet and wiring. It is important to ensure the GFCI has been installed properly, and if necessary, replaced to prevent potential electrical hazards.

Wiring errors

How do home inspectors test GFCIs

Home inspectors are responsible for ensuring that homes are safe and up to code, including the proper installation and functionality of GFCIs. When inspecting a home, the inspector will test all GFCIs to ensure that they are working properly. Here are the steps that home inspectors typically follow to test GFCIs:

1. Locate all GFCI outlets – The inspector will need to identify all GFCI outlets in the home, including those in the kitchen, bathroom, garage, laundry rooms, Wet bars, and outdoor areas.

2. Use a test button – The inspector will use a specialized tester that has a “test” button. When this button is pressed, it creates a small current imbalance and causes the GFCI to trip, mimicking a ground fault.

3. Observe the GFCI reaction – The inspector will observe the GFCI’s reaction to the test button, ensuring that it disconnects power immediately.

4. Press the reset button – After the test is complete, the inspector will press the “reset” button to restore power to the outlet.

5. Verify the reset – Finally, the inspector will check that the GFCI outlet is supplying power correctly and that the “reset” button has engaged effectively.

By performing these steps, home inspectors are able to assess the safety and functionality of GFCIs in a home. If a GFCI fails the inspection, the inspector will recommend necessary repairs or replacements to ensure that the home meets safety standards.

False trips

What are Nuisance Trips and How Can You Address Them?

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) devices are an important safety feature that can protect against electrical hazards. However, they can occasionally trip or malfunction and cause “nuisance tripping,” which can be inconvenient and frustrating to homeowners. Nuisance tripping occurs when a GFCI trips without any actual ground fault or current imbalance. Here are some causes and solutions for ground fault nuisance tripping:

1. Moisture – GFCIs are more sensitive to moisture, so high humidity levels can cause nuisance tripping. If the GFCI is located in a damp or wet area, such as a bathroom, it is important to keep the area well-ventilated and dry.

2. Overloading – If the GFCI is overloaded, it can trip even if there is no actual ground fault. To avoid this, avoid plugging in too many devices or appliances into the GFCI-protected outlet.

3. Faulty wiring – Old or faulty wiring can also cause nuisance tripping. Loose connections, damaged wiring or insulation, and other wiring defects can interfere with the accuracy of GFCI testing and cause tripping.

4. Malfunctioning GFCI – Sometimes, the GFCI device itself can malfunction and cause repeated nuisance tripping. In this case, replacing the GFCI with a new, higher-quality device may help.

To troubleshoot GFCI nuisance trips, you can try unplugging all devices from the GFCI and resetting it to see if it will hold, or try using a regular outlet for that specific device. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to contact an electrician to inspect and test the electrical wiring and GFCI devices for proper installation and functionality.