Can I Replace A GFCI Outlet Or Should I Call An Electrician?

Can I Replace A GFCI Outlet Or Should I Call An Electrician?
GFCI outlets are a necessity for preventing serious electrical shocks and fires in the home. They are a safer option than traditional circuit breakers or fuses and can cut power in under 30 milliseconds to protect your health, property and family. These types of outlets are vital for many areas in the home, including kitchens and bathrooms where water may mix with electricity. However, a faulty outlet can be dangerous even when not in use, so it is always a good idea to have an electrician inspect your home’s wiring to ensure you have these outlets installed correctly.

What Is A GFCI Outlet?
A GFCI outlet is a safety device that protects people from electric shocks and electrocutions. It monitors the flow of electricity and shuts it off in case there is a ground fault or other electrical malfunction that could result in an electric shock. This kind of outlet is installed in wet areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and garages. It is also required by law in new homes. In fact, water and electricity are a dangerous combination, so it is recommended that you install these outlets in all wet areas of your home.

How Do I Replace A GFCI Outlet?
Replacing a GFCI outlet is a home improvement project that many homeowners can do on their own with the proper preparation. It does involve some basic understanding of electricity, so those with limited knowledge should consider hiring a professional to perform the work. First, shut off the electricity to the old outlet by flipping the switch on the circuit breaker that controls it. Then, use a voltage tester to verify that power has been disconnected. Next, prepare the wires for the new GFCI outlet by labeling each one and stripping them to about three-quarters of an inch. Push the wires into corresponding holes on the outlet and give them a slight tug to make sure they are secure.

Can I Replace A GFCI Outlet Without A License?
A DIYer with basic knowledge of electrical wiring may be able to replace an existing outlet with a GFCI outlet, but only when swapping out a three-prong outlet—two plugin slots and a hole. Outlets with only two slots and no third hole indicate the presence of older wiring that should only be replaced by a licensed electrician. So while it’s not impossible to replace an outlet yourself, you should generally always hire a professional if you’re not familiar with how outlets are wired. The task is not particularly difficult, but it’s risky and can lead to serious injury if done incorrectly.