Anonymous asked in Home & GardenMaintenance & Repairs · 6 months ago

Why do you have to have GFCI outlets in Kitchens?

I know that current building codes say that outlets at kitchen counters have to have GFCI outlets.

Why? Why where the counter is?

Is it in case water splashes? Or is it because countertops get wet?

Does electricity from the outlet travel along a wet countertop?


9 Answers

  • 6 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    The reason is based on the idea that one might have their hand on a faucet or other bit of plumbing that is grounded ( a water supply line made of copper is one example) and the other on an electrical appliance that has a faulty ground.

    • G. Whilikers
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      It is not necessary to directly touch a grounded object to be shocked by the hot wire you're also touching. If that were true you could safely pick up a downed power line.

  • In
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet is required within 6 feet of a sink or other ground (like a gas stove connected to metal gas piping) . Small kitchen appliances do not have a separate ground on the power plug and you could get shocked or electrocuted if you are touching the appliance and a ground. GFCI's are not required for dedicated outlets such as behind a refrigerator or wall mounted microwave oven.

    Source(s): ICC certified MCP
  • 6 months ago

    The actual rule is GFCI protection for outlets near water, such as the kitchen sink.

    A single GFCI outlet can protect other outlets 'downstream' from the GFCI outlet. It is also possible to use a GFCI breaker to protect the entire circuit.

  • M.
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Why? Safety.

    Electrical shock hazard!

    Just near sinks, on the counter, at the present.

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  • 6 months ago

    so that if an electrical appliance is accidentally knocked in to the sink, yuou do not get electrocuted

    • dmja 45
      Lv 4
      6 months agoReport

      Nice answer, why isn't the "s" in "so" (first word of sentence) not capitalized? Looks like you put an extra "u" in "you", no offense.

  • 6 months ago

    The list of outlets that must have GFCI seems to be expanding all the time, but it's for a good reason: there is a risk, however remote, that you, and moisture, and an electrically leaky device can combine to turn you into a ground wire. These areas of the house all have that in common: Bathroom - Garage - Outside - Crawl space - Unfinished basement - Kitchen - Laundry - Boathouse

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    If you are so cack-handed as to drop a live electric kettle into the sink they might be a good idea. As it is there are limitations on how close you can put outlets to a sink but GFCIs can be used where these would otherwise be an issue.

    Statistically trailing leads across cooker hobs tends to be a greater hazard and the risk generally is fire rather than electrocution.

  • 6 months ago

    It's not necessary from a technical point of view.

    Pure water is a pretty poor conductor of electricity.

    Pretty much all H&S data comes from research in WW2. It's known what the human body can withstand voltage-wise

    The skin resistance to electricity is reduced when skin is wet/sodden, such as after bathing.

    But unless your feet are also sodden, and you are barefoot, then having damp hands makes no difference to the risk.

    Cloakrooms (Basin, but no bathing bath/shower) doesn't require GFLI or RCD does it?


    I suspect it's more likely to be a code requirement for the idiots who run with scissors/knives and may cut/snick the supply cord. In the UK it was made a requirement after some MP's son-in-law drilled a metal utensil rack onto a live wire, and the wife died when she completed the path to earth across her body as she unloaded the dishwasher

    • dtstellwagen
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Sorry, I thought you asked a question. If it was intended on being rhetorical it confused me since in the US in addition to the bathroom and kitchen requirements the NEC also requires protection near any sink.

  • 6 months ago

    Any place where you're close to water or where there is a ground which there is whenever you have a pipe full of water you definitely want a ground fault interrupter. It could save your life you should have them in the bathroom by the counter and outside.

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