I upgrading each of my receptacles to tamper resistant. The house was built in 1970. In the lower level bathroom it has a 15 amp gfci circuit receptacle and a 15 amp light switch. According to Nec, bathroom today need 20 amps separate receptacle. Do I need to rewire it to comply?
What does the code say about older homes or can I switch out the 15 amp gfci bathroom receptacle with another 15 amp gfci?

  • Replacing the device (outlet) doesn't require rewiring to the new code. There are old homes that the wiring has been upgraded that still have knob and tube wiring in the walls and that is still legal. – Ed Beal Jan 30 '17 at 14:04
  • To clarify it is acceptable in an older home to replace a 15 amp gfci with another 15 amp gfci in an older home (grandfather). I don't have to run a separate 12 gauge wire to the panel and place a 20 amp cuircuit breaker and a new 20 amp gfci instead. – larry pinsky Jan 30 '17 at 19:44
  • Yes, You can replace the old GFCI or upgrade a non GFCI outlet to a new one without updating the wiring. – Ed Beal Jan 30 '17 at 19:57

Bathrooms frequently have high wattage appliances such has high-wattage hair dryers or space heaters. And just because YOU don't have one of these, you might eventually have a guest that brings their own.

Plan for success, and comply with the code. And make sure and get a good name brand GFCI, as there are Chinese knockoff's out there that are known to be bad. I was having problems with my GFCI's in a new home, and when I pilled one out chd looked up the UL listing code, I discovered that the UL number was fake, and my new home had a half dozen fake gfci's... replacing them with properly certified Leviton's solved my gfci issues...

Of course complying with the code could mean you have to run a new wire, if your existing wire isn't to code.

My rule of thumb is "things are in the code for /good/ reason, and electrical is one area never to skimp on..." If you skimp, you can cause a fire or death... Don't do it!

Sure, you may be grandfathered in, so what? the code is for safety, and many many lives are lost to grandfathered old wiring. Just having an old outlet can cause a fire. I'm a firm beliver of periodically replacing outlets that are subjected to heavy loads. A hair dryer, space heater, microwave, toaster, window unit, etc... All of these draw maximum current through the plug. As the plug ages resistance goes up. The resistance generates heat under max loads. That heat softend the metal contacts, so that they have less spring pressure, as well as more surface corrosion. With time the contacts can become bad enough to start getting hot, and eventually starting a fire in the wall, a fire that may take some time to notice until it is too late.

The bathroom outlets are among the ones most subject to current related wear, the next are in the kitchen, and everywhere you plug in the vacuum cleaner, or potentially a space heater. All of those outlets should be replaced every 10 years or so if they get routine use. The fact you have old wiring under an old code set is your first clue that your wiring is old enough to need upgrade/replacement for safety.

  • Didn't know that receptacles should be replaced every 10 yrs. is tamper resistant truly child proof or should you still get covers? – larry pinsky Feb 2 '17 at 21:20

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