skip to Main Content

Audible Ground Fault Circuit Breakers

Audible Ground Fault Circuit Breakers provide multiple levels of protection and alerts for the home owner, and also the home inspector.  Once while inspecting a basement I tested a GFCI with my simple push button tester. It tripped and also tripped a duplex receptacle close to it. A basement freezer was plugged into that receptacle. I heard the freezer turn off when the GFCI tripped. I always reset the GFCI / AFCI receptacle or breaker and then test it again to ensure it is powered. After the inspection (my clients backed out of the transaction based on the home inspection), I received a call from the homeowner telling me that I tripped the GFCI to the freezer and all the meat spoiled. Fortunately the Realtor and my client provided statements that I did reset the GFCI and the freezer was operating when we left the basement. If that GFCI was an audible one, we would have “heard” if it properly reset. Audible GFCI’s automatically self tests to ensure there is power to the GFCI and there is not an issue with the power supply or wiring. They will also not function if improperly wired. Most also have a green light, which gives a visual indication that it is wired properly and has power. Another example is a sump pump. Many home inspectors do not recommend a sump pump is plugged into a GFCI protected circuit. However, an audio alarm will alert the homeowner that there is an issue. Just another way a home inspection is really and education about the house you are purchasing. So how should a home inspector inspect Audible GFCI’s:

  • When power is interrupted the GFCI will sound an alarm
  • A green status light should be visible. This indicates it is wired properly
  • Copper or copper clad wiring should be used unless the receptacle is specifically approved for aluminum
  • GFCI’s, even with audible alarms should not be used for any type of life support equipment
  • GFCI’s installed in wet locations must be Listed and marked as Weather Resistant (WR)
  • GFCI’s installed in wet locations should be protected with an approved cover plate or outlet box suitable for wet locations
  • The plug face should not be exposed to the weather
  • If the reset button will not reset that may indicate the outlet is improperly wired, there is no power, or the GFCI cannot pass its internal test
  • Normally GFCI receptacles should not be installed in an electrical box containing more than 4 wires (not including grounds) or cables with more than 2 wires (not including the grounding wire). If these conditions exist, a qualified electrician should evaluate.
  • If necessary you can silence the audible alarm by pressing and holding the reset button fully for 3 seconds. Contact an electrician if this happens.
  • Any GFCI protected receptacle should have a sticker on it indicating such
  • A flashing or solid red light indicates an issue with the GFCI and you should recommend a qualified electrician evaluate
  • Recommend your client “test” the GFCI’s monthly by pressing the test & reset button

Related Articles:


Want To Learn More? Click HERE to Search Our Full Database Of Home Inspector Newsletters.


Brought to you by InspectCheck

Try InspectCheck for free at

Back To Top