Your Place: Is GFCI wiring installed correctly in my garage?

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Q: I understand GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) wiring is done for safety of the occupant/homeowner and is construction code.

I recently purchased a brand new home and moved in the early part of the year. GFCI hookups reside in the bathrooms, basement, kitchen and the attached garage. I was surprised to learn that the GFCI in the attached garage also includes the overhead lights (not the light on the garage door opener).

This perhaps would impede safety in the garage if someone were in the garage when the GFCI engaged, and therefore the individual would not have any lighting to get out of the garage or find and reset the GFCI.

I have contacted the builder to question this, and the subcontractor is citing the 2009 IRC (International Residential Code) as well as the 2014 NEC (National Electrical Code) and insisting they are in compliance with the codes with regards to the garage GFCI hookup. I did find a website addressing GFCI hookups. The attached garage is specifically addressed.

Please let me know your thoughts and provide any advice on whether I should continue to pursue the builder on this issue.

A: Although I understand the need for GFCI wiring, especially in high-moisture areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and garages, I am not qualified to comment on installation methods or code compliance.

I leave electricity and plumbing in my house to the experts with licenses to operate, reducing the chance of fire and flood, or not having the house pass inspection when it goes on the sale market.

I sent your question to two electricians for comment and have not heard back yet. But this column is read by a wide assortment of people, including licensed electricians and electrical engineers.

The Internet link you sent me wasnt one Id take to the bank, but the author made a good point:

"Remember that the electrical codes are in place for your safety," he said. "Although you may believe that they are overkill at times, these practices save lives everyday."

I invite experts to weigh in, please. Thanks.