Where are GFCI Devices Required

GFCI devices were required to protect the circuitry on the exterior of the structure in the 90’s. In South Texas, this GFCI is typically also found in the garage or laundry room area. But from the 1990’s, GFCI devices began to be required in many more areas, eventually being required basically anywhere water could be present. This will be difficult to track for someone who doesn’t work with electricity every day or inspect houses for a living, so we’ve written this article to help you find out where exactly you need a GFCI. In general, ask yourself if this area is a “wet” or “damp” area and you will find that GFCI protection is required.


Any Receptacle Within 6-feet of the Edge of a Sink

Measuring from the edge of the sink bowl, any receptacle within 6-feet of the sink edge needs to be GFCI protected, period.

At Kitchen and Wet-Bar countertops

GFCI protection is required for all receptacles located at a kitchen or wet-bar countertop. This is straight-forward: this is an area where food-processing devices and water are present, so shock-protection is needed.

Receptacles Under the Kitchen Sink (in the cabinet)

Generally, this means the receptacle for the food waste disposer and sometimes the dishwasher. This is an area where water can be present if a leak were to occur and it is almost certainly within 6-feet of the sink edge.

The Dishwasher Receptacle (must be accessible!)

The dishwasher is required to have its own dedicated GFCI device and it must be accessible as well. What does this mean? Usually, the easy way of accomplishing this is to install GFCI protection at the panel board for the dedicated GFCI circuit.

All Bathroom Receptacles

All bathroom receptacles need to be GFCI protected.

The Laundry Area

The receptacle for the washing machine did not require this protection, as it was for a dedicated appliance. That is no longer true. All receptacles are required to have GFCI protection for now. 

All Garage Receptacles

GFCI protection are required for all receptacles in a garage. This does in fact include the garage door opener, which up until the last decade wasn’t required (there was an exclusion for dedicated appliance receptacles).

All Exterior Receptacles

Any receptacle on the exterior of the home, including soffit receptacles and receptacles in enclosed patios require GFCI protection.

All Unfinished-Basement Receptacles

Please make sure all receptacles have GFCI protection if you live in an area where unfinished basements are common.

All Crawlspace Receptacles

Crawlspaces are only present on very old homes or mobile homes in San Antonio, but occasionally I will see a receptacle in the crawlspace but it is never GFCI protected.  It indeed needs GFCI protection for now if one is present in your crawlspace.

The Service Receptacle in the Attic (if equipment is present, not all homes)

So, if you have air-conditioning equipment present in your attic, it is required that there be a 125v receptacle within 20-feet of the equipment so that anybody servicing the equipment has a receptacle to energize their tools. If this receptacle is present, it needs GFCI protection.

The Pool Light and Basically All Pool Equipment

This is another post entirely to itself, but if you have a pool, make sure the light and the equipment is GFCI protected.

Post time: Mar-28-2023