The way I understand this page about GFCI outlets: (a) GFCI outlets can fail after about 10 years, making them unable to detect faults, (b) when outlets made after 2006 fail, they shut off power automatically, and (c) pre-2006 outlets fail silently: they can't detect faults but they continue to provide power. That seems like a big safety hazard, and a good reason to replace my old GFCI outlets before they fail.

However, I haven't found anyone recommending proactive replacement, and if this was a legitimate safety concern I'd expect people to shout it from the rooftops. So are the old outlets worth replacing? Or am I just getting worried over nothing?

The GFCI outlets in my house were installed in the mid-90s (in the USA). And they're passing the tests with a GFCI outlet tester.

3 Answers 3


I think this depends on the quality of your old outlets. A lot of times builders might use the lowest quality for outlets and I have gone through houses that were 10-15 years old and just spent a day replacing them all.

However with GFCIs it is not very common for these to be cheaply made. They would have to probably be quite a bit older than 10 years old to be junk GFCIs. So I would keep them unless another GFCI in the same room fails. I like my outlets to generally match if they are right next to each other but that is just aesthetic preference.

Really though if you are talking about electricity in general (save for very old knob and tub or aluminum) if you touch it there is much more chance of you causing an issue than you preventing one.


I seriously doubt that a meaningful quantity of GFCIs fail after only 10 years. Maybe that's just the typical warranty length.

If you're concerned, GFCI outlets have a test function, which simulates a ground fault (or use your GFCI tester, which probably does the same thing). Test them monthly, if you desire.


As the article you cited states, if they pass with a GFCI plug in tester (not the test button built into the receptacle), they are still good. Why change them?

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