Why You Need a GFCI in a Bathroom?

by | Last updated Aug 20, 2022 | Building Codes, Building Systems, Construction Practices

You need to install GFCI or GFI outlets in your bathroom because bathrooms are wet areas and GFCI outlets will automatically shut off if water comes in contact with the electrical current. Building and Electrical Codes typically require at least one GFCI per bathroom and prohibit the installation of any non GFCI outlets in wet areas such as bathrooms.  

I am Jorge Fontan an architect in New York and owner of Fontan Architecture. I am going to review the general requirements for Ground Fault Interrupter Outlets and why they are important. When performing any work on your home you should always used competent, reputable, licensed, and insured professionals. As I always say, DIY is a bad way to die.


What is a GFCI Outlet?

A GFCI outlet is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlet also commonly known as a GFI. These outlets are designed to detect and automatically shut off in case of an electric short, in order to prevent dangerous and potentially deadly electric shock.

An example of when a GFCI would be shut off is when water comes in contact with the electrical current. The safety feature in the outlet will trigger, and cut off the electric supply. These are used for safety in wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

When a GFCI outlet is triggered, you must press a button on the outlet to reset the power. If the problem is still present it will continue to shut off, preventing electricity from flowing through the outlet.


GFCI Outlets and Electrical Codes For Bathrooms

Electrical Codes require all outlets in wet areas, such as bathrooms, to be GFCI outlets. Additionally, you must have at least one outlet per bathroom. Therefore you need to have a minimum of at least one GFCI per bathroom.

The following is a quote from the NFPA  NEC.(NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Assassination and NEC stands for National Electrical Code).

“(A) Dwelling Units. … receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A)(1) through (10) shall have ground-fault circuit interrupter protection for personnel. (1) Bathrooms …”


Why GFCI Outlets are Important

GFCI outlets are a safety feature that is critical for all wet areas. Before beginning work make sure your team has acquired all necessary permits. All electrical work must be performed by a licensed electrician and pass all required inspections.

GFI Outlet in Bathroom

GFI Outlet in Bathroom


Thank You for Reading Our Blog Post on GFCI Outlets in Bathrooms.

I hope this was helpful. If you would like to speak with an architect about a potential project, you can contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.


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Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.