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I'm replacing an old GFCI in a bathroom, and for a little more money, I could buy one rated for weather resistance.

This bathroom has no fan (only a small window), so it can get pretty steamy with water condensation on all surfaces after a shower.

Would a weather rated GFCI be safer or longer lasting in such a location, or is a standard GFCI adequate? I'm assuming that it's ok to use a WR rated GFCI in an indoor location that's not exposed to outdoor weather?

Similarly, there's a downstream receptacle that I could also swap out with a WR rated one if there's any advantage to doing so.

What is the real difference between the regular and weather resistant models besides the little WR logo?

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Probably no reason to use a WR outlet. The "WR" rating may not mean what you think it means. The primary difference between a WR outlet and a regular one is the WR one uses a special kind of plastic that does not get as brittle when cold and has better UV protection so it does not get damaged by direct sunlight. It does not provide any additional water resistance. If the outlet is going to be subject to direct water spray (either indoors or outdoors) it should be protected by a weatherproof outlet cover.

(It's possible a Tamper Resistant outlet would provide a small amount of protection against water since there are shutters that cover the slots, but that's certainly not what it's designed for. You may or may not want to install TR outlets, depending on whether it's required by code and/or you have kids.)

  • Ahh, thanks, that is a misconception on my part, I assumed that the WR rating meant it had additional water resistance. The GFCI receptacle is mounted about 12" above the counter, so it's not really subject to direct spray or splashes, I was more worried about condensation. – Johnny Jul 10 '15 at 18:51
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    Check local codes, TR receptacles may be required. 406.12 Tamper-Resistant Receptacles. Tamper-resistant receptacles shall be installed as specified in 406.12(A) through (C). (A) Dwelling Units. In all areas specified in 210.52, all nonlocking-type 125-volt, I5- and 20-ampere receptacles shall be listed tamper-resistant receptacles. 210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets. (D) Bathrooms. – Tester101 Jul 10 '15 at 19:16
  • @Tester101 The GFCI's I'm planning to install are TR (and I already swapped out the rest of the outlets in the house with TR outlets), but I didn't think the code applied unless I were doing significant remodeling? The house was built in 1990. – Johnny Jul 10 '15 at 19:21
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    @Johnny any time you replaced a receptacle, it has to be replaced with a TR. 406.4(D)(5) Tamper-Resistant Receptacles. Listed tamper-resistant receptacles shall be provided where replacements are made at receptacle outlets that are required to be tamper-resistant elsewhere in this Code. – Tester101 Jul 10 '15 at 20:38
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    WR gfci's have a coating on the electronics that prevents moisture from shorting the circuitry WR is a good idea in a bathroom and any outdoor location even if covered. It is more than UV resistant plastic. – Ed Beal Jan 25 '18 at 15:23
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Regarding this, the accepted answer is not quite correct:

The primary difference between a WR outlet and a regular one is the WR one uses a special kind of plastic that does not get as brittle when cold and has better UV protection so it does not get damaged by direct sunlight.

Weather-resistant GFCI outlets include brass and nickel plated contacts and other metal parts that resist corrosion caused by moisture. Corrosion can cause a failure of the receptacle.

See, for example, the "Tamper and Weather Resistant GFCI Spec Sheet" (PDF) on Cooper Industries's Tamper and Weather Resistant GFCI products for weather-resistant specifics.

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