Since the 1970s, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) have saved thousands of lives and have helped cut the number of home electrocutions in half. GFCIs are electrical safety devices that trip electrical circuits when they detect ground faults or leakage currents. A person who becomes part of a path for leakage current will be severely shocked or electrocuted. These outlets prevent deadly shock by quickly shutting off power to the circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning. A GFCI should be used in any indoor or outdoor area where water may come into contact with electrical products. The National Electrical Code currently requires that GFCIs be used in all kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and outdoors.
Make Sure Your Test Your GCFI Outlets Periodically
Testing your outlets will ensure they are working properly. Also if you have recently lost power to an outlet or set of outlets, it is best to go looking for a tripped GFCI outlet as this is usually the first place to start troubleshooting. Remember the placement of these can be elusive. You may have to go on the hunt to find all of yours! Here are the steps to test your GFCI outlets:
1. Push the RESET button.
2. Plug in a nightlight or similar device.
3. The nightlight should be ON.
4. Press the TEST button.
5. The nightlight should turn OFF.
6. Push the RESET button again.
7. The nightlight should turn back ON.
8. If the nightlight did not turn OFF, the GFCI is not working properly.
What To Do If Your GFCI Outlet Is Not Working
You will need to replace the affected outlet. GFCIs should only be installed by a licensed, qualified electrician. It is easy to install a replacement GFCI incorrectly. This is because the wiring requirements for each outlet is specific to the manufacturer. You cannot simply take one off and replace it with another using the same wire placement. To replace an outlet properly, you should be using test equipment to ensure the correct wire placement.
If you find that you are in need of an Electrician, we are here to help. Call us today (208) 991-2785 or click here to request an estimate.