Illustration: Ian Warpole
PROBLEM #5
GFCIs shut down circuits in 4 milliseconds to prevent fatal shock
5. No GFCIs
What it means: Increased risk of electrocution in wet areas, such as baths and kitchens. GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) shut down circuits in 4 milliseconds, before current can cause a deadly shock.

Code violation? No; grandfathered in. (Codes today require GFCIs within 4 feet of any sink and on all garage, basement, and outdoor outlets.)

Danger level: High.

Solution: Replace old receptacles with GFCIs (about $12 each). This is a simple job that many homeowners do themselves. Electricians charge about $20 per outlet. (There will likely be a minimum job charge.) Note: As an alternative, GFCI breakers ($25) can be installed on the main panel. But then every time one trips, you have to go down to the basement to reset it.

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