What is the average life expectancy of a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacle?
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Our estimate of average life expectancy for GFCI receptacles is 15 to 25 years, with an average of 20 years, although some fail as early as 5 years. Exterior receptacles tend to have a shorter life due to weather exposure, especially if the “in-use” clear plastic cover is missing. GFCI circuit breakers usually last longer, with an average of 35 years.
Here’s a graph comparing the life expectancy of GFCI receptacles to other electrical components in a home.
The good news is that GFCI receptacles manufactured in the last ten years fail “open” (power disconnected). The previous design failed “closed” (power still connected). So, if your newer GFCI receptacle is dead and will not reset, it is because the device has failed. Leviton even offers a “SmartLock Pro” Self-Test GFCI receptacle that tests itself regularly. Also, all newer GFCI receptacles now will not power up if wired incorrectly.
See our blog post Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required? for the code-mandated locations, and What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) NOT protect against? for what they don’t do.
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about AFCI and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS:
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