Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

A ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a life-saving device that is primarily designed to protect people from the deadly effects of electrical shock. Its function is to sense imbalances in the electrical current and turns off the power by tripping a relay within it in less than one second, eliminating shock hazard. GFCI protection is available as GFCI circuit breakers or as GFCI outlets. To explain it further, a GFCI is a special receptacle that detects the electrical current flowing to and from an outlet or an appliance. Ideally, these two should match each other. The slightest change will signal the GFCI to trip, shutting off the power. In short, GFCI protection is an important feature in every home and if installed properly, can save homeowners’ lives.

You might be asking yourselves now, where are GFCI outlets or receptacles required? GFCIs are usually installed in areas where water and electricity are in close proximity, such as bathrooms, kitchens and garages. It was first recommended in 1968 and at that time, they were only required as a method of protection for underwater swimming pool lights. Over the years, GFCI installation requirements were gradually added in more locations. During a home inspection, professional home inspectors in Kern River Home Inspections notice that older homes in Kern County, especially in Bakersfield, Ridgecrest and Kernville areas have some locations in the home where outlets are not GFCI protected. While it is true that GFCI protection may not have been required at the time the house was built, it is still highly recommended to upgrade the electrical system to include GFCI protection at required locations inside and outside your house. You might be surprised that even some newer homes in Kern County have some areas where outlets are not GFCI protected as required by today’s standards.

According to the National Electric Code (NEC), all 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-amp receptacles shall have GFCI protection in the following locations:

  1. Bathrooms
  2. Garages and accessory buildings
  3. Outdoors
  4. Crawlspaces at or below grade level
  5. Unfinished basements
  6. Kitchens
  7. Laundry rooms
  8. Within 6 feet of all plumbing fixtures
  9. Boathouses

Kern River Home Inspections strongly recommends homeowners to consider having GFCI protection installed in the above-mentioned areas as a safety precaution. Ensuring high standards of safety is our absolute priority. If you would like to look for the presence of GFCI outlets in recommended locations or test if outlets are GFCI protected, consider hiring the best home inspection company in Kern County! Contact Kern River Home Inspections TODAY at or you can call or text 661-205-9172.


This article was created by Kern River Home Inspections, providing home inspections, commercial inspections and mold inspections to Bakersfield and all of Kern County.