The Hows and Whys of GFI Outlets and Weatherproof Outlets

You may recall seeing the funny looking outlets first around a friend’s swimming pool. Today, Ground Fault Interrupter, or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, outlets are part of safe electrical use in any area subject to moisture. If you have or are planning to take part in the “outdoor living space” trend, be sure to include a professional electrician in your planning.

Apollo Home of Greater Cincinnati, for example, has consulted with hundreds of homeowners over the years on projects involving outdoor kitchens, pool bars, saunas/spas, exterior speakers and televisions.  

Why a Home Needs an Electrician to Install GFIs

In the 1970s, the national electrical code was changed to require an electrician to install for outdoor receptacles. Over the years, the code included requirements for bathrooms, garage walls, basements, within six feet of kitchen sinks and crawl spaces.

As homeowners’ decor and design needs changed, so did GFI code. In 1993 wet bar sinks were added. Later, all outdoor receptacles including balconies, all kitchen receptacles serving countertops and in all electrically heated floors joined the list.

This regulation change has saved thousands of lives and helped cut the number of home electrocutions by 50 percent.

How a GFI Works

If a person connects with a path for leakage current, he or she will be severely shocked or electrocuted. GFIs are designed to safely trip electrical circuits when ground faults or leakage currents are present. By immediately eliminating power to the circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit is different from the electricity returning, deadly shock is prevented.

Are GFIs the Same as Weatherproof Outlets?

Not all GFIs need to be protected from the elements. A typical GFI in your laundry room, for example, performs its basic function. A weatherproof outlet, on the exterior of your home or near your pool deck, on the other hand, will be exposed to rain, snow, ice, moisture and humidity. A weatherproof outlet is manufactured to offer protection from these and other corrosive scenarios.

Common examples of additional weatherproof outlet needs might include a safe holiday light display. Excessive extension cords are an electrical hazard. Extension cords crossing driveways and sidewalks may also trip residents or guests, necessitating a homeowners’ insurance claim.

If you’re interested in additional outlets for any reason –  decor, entertaining or otherwise, be sure to employ the help of a professional electrician.

Electrical Evaluation with an Apollo Home Electrician

It’s easy to become complacent with our household to-dos. Take off some of the burden with an Apollo Care Plan. This comprehensive preventative maintenance plan includes tune-ups of your major HVAC systems twice a year.

A NATE-certified technician will inspect, test, clean and lubricate all relevant components of your air conditioner and furnace, for example. They’ll look for evidence of excessive wear and tear or pollutants like mold.

In addition, Apollo Care Plan members receive an annual evaluation of their home’s electrical and plumbing/sewer systems. Review the functionality and efficiency of these critical home mechanicals with these specially-designed examinations.

Additional benefits of the Apollo Care Plan include a dedicated VIP phone number for members, priority scheduling and no overtime charges for 24/7 emergency service.

Enjoy More Time with Friends and Family

It’s easy to check preventative maintenance for your heating and air, plumbing and electrical systems off your to-do list! Call Apollo Home to learn more about our Apollo Care Plan to preserve your home’s systems and to reduce time lost from inconvenient repairs.

Our uniformed technicians are licensed, insured and thoroughly background checked for your peace of mind. They are industry-certified and receive ongoing training so they can repair any brand your home currently uses. They are always happy to answer any questions about your equipment or their service process.

Know someone interested in becoming a home services professional? Successful applicants of the Apollo Apprenticeship Program receive paid training and support to become an electrician. Graduates of the Apprenticeship Program finish with a career and no student debt. Call Apollo Home today!