Installing a GFCI Outlet Near Sink

The plumbing in your kitchen or bathroom is much more than pipes and sinks. To ensure safety all around, you need to consider your surroundings. It is likely that you have at least one outlet close to a sink in your home, and dangerous situations can arise if water gets into them, or into the electrical devices plugged in. 

Therefore, a ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI outlet, is important. A GFCI outlet detects imbalances in electrical currents, and when such an imbalance occurs, the power will be shut down to that outlet immediately, preventing possible damage or the potential risk of shock.

Electricity will always look for the path of least resistance. The danger in the bathroom or kitchen is that water is an excellent conductor of electricity. It is not the water itself, but electricity will flow through water because it contains ions of dissolved salts and metals.

Once water gets into a device that is plugged in, or into the outlet itself, the GFCI will cut off that path of electricity and shut off the outlet, stopping any possible eclectic shock. After the area is cleared, dried and safe, the outlet can be turned back on, or you can press the reset button.

While bathrooms and kitchens are the smartest places to have a GFCI outlet, they are not the only locations. Consider your garage or basement, where unwanted water may find its way close to an outlet. Same with laundry rooms that have a sink close to the washing machine, and even outlets that are located outside. 

Placement of GFCI outlets should also be taken into consideration, especially if you are working on a remodel and have control of such things. The National Electrical Code requires outlets be installed in a kitchen that has a sink 12 inches wide and 24 inches deep. That outlet must also be within 2 feet of the sink. Bathrooms must have at least one electrical outlet, it must be GFCI, and it must be within 3 feet of the sink.

Plumbing safety involves more than just smart plumbing, but also a safe environment around such fixtures. GFCI outlets should be installed in many areas throughout your home for the absolute best protection. For more information on installing GFCI outlets in your home, call the professionals at Sunrise Heating and Plumbing today at (616) 293-9326. We pride ourselves in providing nothing but exceptional customer service.