Can I switch my two prong outlet to a three prong GFCI outlet in the bathroom?
I don’t know if you have ever been in a home that did not have a three prong outlet, but it can be frustrating. So many devices that we use today come with three prongs and an adjustment will need to be made to plug in the cord. One of those adjustments can be a three prong to two prong adaptor. The danger with using one of these items is that there is a false sense of protection. That third prong is a “ground”, and it is no longer providing protection when used in this fashion.
Over the years, not only do home have a three prong system with outlets that are properly grounded. In many areas of the home, even greater protection is required. The GFCI outlet is required to be installed for the consumer’s protection against shock.
Some of the areas that are required to have GFCI outlets are
For a more comprehensive list you can contact your local building department or contractor with questions regarding where the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlet is needed.
What does the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter do?
If properly installed, a GFCI is rated to "trip" quickly to protect the user. It is designed to shut off the electrical flow of power when there is a break in the low-resistance grounding path from the device plugged in or the electric system. Without this protection, you can be the path through which the power will flow - You will be shocked!
The outlet should trip so quickly that you will not be harmed from the shock. There is also a level of protection from overheating and even fires from the over flow of power going through the electrical line. For example, if you are using too many devices on the protected circuit at once the GFCI will "trip" and shut itself down. Without this protection the wires can get overheated and catch fire within the walls.
Yes, you can change your two prong outlet to a three prong GFCI outlet, but it is suggested that a qualified contractor do the work. This will help to insure the proper electrical protection in the bathroom. Protect your home and yourself!
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