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Does a Garage Opener Need a Gfci? (Quick Answers)

The full form of GFCI is Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. GFCI works as a preventive measure against electricity related accidents. GFCI does this by stopping flow of electricity when an accident is about to happen. Today, we are going to discuss and find out whether a garage opener needs a gfci or not.

Does a garage opener need a gfci?

It is compulsory to have a gfci protected outlet for a garage door opener since 2008 according to several national, international and local building codes. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets are needed for a garage door opener to keep you safe against imbalance flow of electricity.

People often face electric shock related accidents due to not using a GFCI protected outlet for their garage opener. The garage is the most exposed part of your house as it sits near the outer part of the property. That is why garage door opener specially needs gfci protected outlets as changing weather conditions and other problematic things can cause unbalance flow electricity in the garage.

Ground Fault Current Interrupter protected outlets keep you safe against this irregular flow of current by switching off the power supply. If you do not have a gfci outlet for your garage door opener, the uneven flow of electricity will try to use your body to get into the ground when it faces disruption in its flow.

Many national and international building codes such as International Residential Code and National electric code have made it obligatory to have gfci protected outlet for a garage door opener. And it is always better to be safe than sorry by installing a gfci outlet for a garage door opener.

Are gfci outlets required in the detached garage?

You might think that your detached garage does not need to have gfci outlet as it is not part of the main house. But International Residential Code (IRC) and National Electric Code (NEC) beg to differ with you. Because these sets of codes require you install gfci outlets in the detached garage.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter AKA GFCI gives you proper protection against electric shock. GFCI outlets does this job by controlling the flow of electricity when it senses some abnormality in the flow of electricity. That is why you will need to have GFCI protected outlets in your detached garage.

GFCI protected outlets will control the flow of electricity to the lights and door opener of the detached garage. It will save you from any electricity related accident. Detached garage did not require gfci protected outlets before 2008. But after 2008, gfci protected outlets have become a compulsory feature of a garage whether it is attached or detached.

Why is gfci required for garage door opener?

There are a lot of reasons why gfci is required for garage door opener. Let’s discuss in detail about them.

Because of Codes:

When you are installing electrical outlets in any part of your house, you will have to abide by some building and electric codes. Otherwise, you will have to pay penalty or legal action will be taken against you by the concerned authority.

There are also various codes available for installing electrical outlets in your garage. The International Residential Code (IRC) and the National Electric Code (NEC) are some of those codes that you have to follow while installing an electrical outlet for your garage door opener. These codes have made it compulsory to have a gfci protected electrical outlet for your garage door opener.

These codes specify that gfci protection must be provided for any outlet with the attributes of  single phase, one hundred and twenty five volt, fifteen and twenty ampere outlets. If your garage door opener’s outlet meets these attributes, then you need to install gfci protection for the outlet.

For Protection:

GFCI protected outlets give you extra protection against any electricity related accidents. Sometimes the optimum flow of current gets interrupted due to moisture, dust, and worn insulation. When the normal flow of electricity gets interrupted, it starts to look for an alternative way to flow out of the outlet. This causes the unfortunate case of electric shock related accidents.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is able to save you from getting electrical shock by closing off the electrical supply when it senses a disruption in the flow of electricity. GFCI protected outlets are a blessing in disguise as it continues to save numerous lives throughout the world with the help of its mechanism.

For reselling purpose:

If your electrical outlets does not abide by the local building code, international residential code and national electric current code, then you will have problem reselling your house. Because you will need to provide the specifications of your electrical outlets to the concerned authority when the time to sell the house comes. So you will need to have gfci protected outlet for your garage door opener in order to be on the safe side.

Where should the GFCI outlet be for a garage door opener?

International Residential Code and National Electric code have made it obligatory to have gfci protected outlets for the garage. But these codes have not stated any specific position of the GFCI outlet for a garage door opener. That is why the position of the GFCI outlet for a garage door opener depends on practicality and preference.

A garage owner can place the gfci outlet for the garage opener in any part of the garage he wishes. But it is better to consult an electrician about the placement of GFCI outlet for the garage opener.

Do I need weather-resistant gfci in the garage?

According to the National Electric code released in 2008, you are required to have a weather resistant gfci in the garage. The reason behind this is that the garage of your house is affected by the changing conditions the most. Because the garage often sits at the outer most part of the property and does not have that much protection.

Weather resistant gfci outlets can protect you against imbalance flow of current for a long time. It is also wise to check with the concerned authority about the local building codes to know if you really need a weather resistant gfci outlet in the garage or not.

How to add GFCI protection to your garage door opener?

Adding GFCI protection to your garage door opener might seem like a daunting task if you do not have prior experience regarding the matter. However, there are some steps and methods you can follow to accomplish the job. Let’s discuss in detail about them.

Gather the tools and materials:

First of all, you will have to gather the tools and materials needed for the process. You will need to have a screwdriver, a wire stripper, a utility knife, a voltage tester, pliers, and electrical tape in the tool box. You will also be required to gather materials such as electrical box, wire staple, GFCI outlet, wire nut, and electrical cable. If you have all these things at hand, then you are good to go.

Shut off the power:

Then, you will be required to shut off the power supply to the electrical outlet you are trying to add GFCI protection. You can accomplish this process by shutting off the circuit breaker connected to that particular outlet. You can use a voltage tester to see if the power supply has been cut off from the concerned electrical outlet.

Detach the old electrical outlet:

You will have to remove the non gfci protected outlet from the spot by using the wire strippers. You will have to careful about not cutting an important wire and cut only those wires that are crucial for the detachment process.

Attach the GFCI outlet:

In the next process, you will need to attach the GFCI outlet to fill the gap left by the old non gfci protected outlet. You will need to cut down the insulation of the wire with the help of a wire stripper. You will need to make appropriate wire connections between the gfci outlet and the plug. The connections have to be between neutral load wire and neutral line wire, hot load wire and hot line wire.

Test the process:

You can label your gfci outlet by putting the GFCI protected outlet sticker on the outlet. You can use the GFCI tester to find the success of the process. You will notice that the lights of the tester have turned off upon using the test button.

Final Thoughts

The garage door opener must have a gfci protected outlet for function and safety purposes. National Electrical code and International Residential Code have made gfci outlets compulsory for a garage door opener in 2008. But it is also wise to seek help of the local building code.