A GFCI receptacle (outlet) is designed to shut of electric power within 1/40 of a second in order to prevent electric shock.
Ground fault circuit interrupter receptacles (outlets) have been required in houses since 1971. Originally they were only required on the exterior of the house and by swimming pool equipment. Over the years GFCI outlets have been required in more locations, such as in garages, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.
GFCI outlets are commonly found in areas that are highly susceptible to ground faults, such as where there is a risk of water coming in contact with electricity.
In those areas it is important that GFCI outlets be installed in order to prevent shock hazards - electrocution.
If your house does not have GFCI protection in the following listed areas my recommendation is to have a licensed electrician provide this life-saving protection in all of those noted areas.
The following list shows the dates and locations of where and when these safety outlets were mandated
1971 - Starting in 1971 GFCI outlets were required for the exterior of houses.
1971 - Swimming Pools outlets within 15 feet of pool wall. 1984 - Updated to within 20 feet of pool wall.
1971 - All equipment used for storable pool equipment.
1973 - All exterior outlets.
1974 - Construction sites.
1975 - Bathrooms.
1978 - Garage - 2008 - Updated for all garage outlets.
1978 - All Exterior outlets, includes outlets 6 feet 6 inches above grade - Exception for dedicated outlets for roof de-icing heat cables.
1984 - Outlets for motorized swimming pool covers.
1987 - Unfinished basements.
1987 - Kitchen countertop outlets within 6 feet of the sink. 1996 - Updated to include all kitchen countertop outlets.
1987 - Boat houses.
1987 - Hydromassage - Jetted Tubs
1990 - Crawlspace
Exception sump pump and other dedicated equipment.
1999 - Updated with the removal of exception of dedicated equipment.
1993 - Wet bar countertop within 6 feet of the sink.
1993 - Any outlet being replaced in an area requiring a GFCI outlet.
1996 - All unfinished accessory buildings at or below grade.
1999 - In - Floor electric heat systems.
2011 - Washing machines within 6 feet of a sink. 2014 - Updated to washing machines in any location.
2014 - Dishwashers, and the GFCI outlets must be in readily accessible locations. GFCI outlets no longer allowed under sinks.