Does a home inspector check the GFCI receptacles and breakers?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The standards of practice for both major national home inspector associations and State of Florida’s own standards all specify that the GFCIs should be checked. “Ground fault circuit interrupters” are listed as necessary to be checked on both the American Socity of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and State of Florida standards. The International Association of Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) states that the inspector should inspect “all ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacles and circuit breakers observed and deemed to be GFCIs using a GFCI tester, where possible.” 

    But how they should be checked and how many of them need to be checked depends on how an inspector interprets the guidelines. It is possible to interpret these standards two ways:

1) Only the receptacles that have a GFCI-device with two buttons in the center are necessary to be tested with the test button, along with GFCI-breakers in a panel with a test button.

2) In wet areas where GFCI-protection is required, all receptacles should be tested to verify GFCI-protection either in the panel or at a nearby receptacle, since a GFCI can protect multiple nearby receptacles downstream on the circuit. A simple plug-in testing device that shunts a little current to ground, like the one shown below, simulates a ground fault and can be used to test all receptacles where GFCI-protection is expected.

    One problem with this second method is that the inspector sometimes spends an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out where the GFCI is that was just tripped. And it can be frustrating. See our blog post A receptacle outlet is dead and I think I tripped a GFCI, but can't locate it. Where do I find the GFCI reset? for more on this. But it can uncover receptacles that should have GFCI shock-protection and don’t.

    So there are inspectors that test all receptacles that should be GFCI-protected to verify it, and other inspectors that only test wherever there is a test button to push. Also, see our blog post Does a home inspector check every electrical receptacle outlet in a house?

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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about AFCI and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS:

 Does a septic pump or sump pump require a GFCI-receptacle?

 • What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?

 Are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) really necessary and worth the trouble? 

 What is the code requirement for GFCI protection for receptacles near a wet bar sink?

 When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required? 

 When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required?

 Does a washing machine receptacle outlet require GFCI protection?

 My spa tub stopped working. What's wrong?  

 How do I identify a combination AFCI (CAFCI) circuit breaker? 

 What does "listed and labeled" mean for an electrical component? 

 What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) NOT protect against?  

 What is the difference between GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers? 

 Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required?

 When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?

 What happens when you press the "TEST" button on a circuit breaker in an electric panel?

 What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home? 

 Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?

 What is a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter (DFCI)? 

 How I can tell if a receptacle outlet is tamper resistant?

 What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?  

 What is the difference between "grounded" and "grounding" electrical conductors? 

 What does it mean when a wire is "overstripped" at a circuit breaker?

 Why is there a GFCI breaker in the electric panel for the bathroom shower light and exhaust fan?

 What is the switch on the wall with two pushbuttons? 

 How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be spaced?  

 How far above a kitchen countertop do electrical outlets have to be? 

 How is it possible to provide both GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) and CAFCI (Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection for kitchen and laundry circuits?

 My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?  

 My GFCI reset button is hard to push and won't reset. What's wrong?

 Why do some breakers in my electric panel have a "TEST" button on them?

    Visit our AFCI AND GFCI page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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