For a long time now, ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCI’s, have saved thousands of lives and have significantly reduced the number of home electrocutions by nearly fifty percent. Many homes and business in the Puget Sound Area do not have proper electrical protection in restrooms or outdoor locations. With the unpredictable Northwest weather, you need to make sure that you are guarded from the hazard of a shock both in and outside of your home.
GFCIs are electrical safety devices that trip electrical circuits when they detect ground faults or current leakage. A person who becomes part of a path for leakage current will be severely shocked or electrocuted. This could cause serious injury or death. GFCI outlets prevent shock by quickly shutting off power to the circuit, similar to a circuit breaker in a house panel. This occurs if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning, usually caused by a short circuit or circuit overload.
A GFCI should be used in any indoor or outdoor area where water may come into contact with electrical products like landscaping, a bathroom or around a kitchen sink. National Electrical Code currently requires that GFCIs be used in all kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and outdoors. GFCI’s should be tested once a month to confirm that they are working properly.
GFCIs should be tested often to make sure they are working properly. To test your GFCI:
- Push the “reset” button on the GFCI to prepare the outlet for testing.
- Plug in an ordinary light or plug tester (from Home Depot) into the GFCI and turn it ON. The light should now be on.
- Push the “test” button of the GFCI. The light should go OFF.
- Push the “reset” button again. The light should now come ON again.
If the light does not turn off when the test button is pushed, then the GFCI may have been incorrectly wired or damaged and it no longer offers shock the protection for which it was designed. B&G Property Maintenance and Electrical Contracting can give you a free estimate to install or upgrade GFCI outlets around your house to increase electrical safety and make your home electrically protected.