Essential home safety devices, GFCI outlets, or ground fault circuit interrupters, protect you and your family from electrical shocks, particularly in water and moisture-prone areas of your home. Easy to recognize and simple to install, these devices offer an inexpensive way to increase electrical safety in your home – and bring it up to code.
Commonly located in bathrooms, kitchens, and garages where the risk of electrical shock is greater due to water and other hazards, identifying GFCI outlets is simple - just look for the “test” and “reset” buttons located on the receptacle.
GFCI outlets monitor the amount of electricity flowing through a circuit – like a small, extra-sensitive circuit breaker built right in to the outlet. When GFCI outlets detect even a relatively small imbalance, a circuit is tripped and the outlet immediately stops the flow of electricity. Working faster than a circuit breaker, GFCIs are designed to operate before electricity can affect your heartbeat - in as little as one-thirtieth of a second. Once a GFCI it tripped and conditions are confirmed to be safe, electricity can quickly and easily be restored without a single trip to the breaker box. Simply press the “reset” button to restore power.
Like the smoke detectors in your home, periodic monthly inspection is recommended to ensure GFCI outlets are functioning properly for the event of a potential electrical hazard. Testing is fast and easy. Simply press the “test” button and confirm the outlet has cut off the flow of electricity with a night light or other portable appliance, then press “reset” to restore power to the outlet.
GFCI outlets have been required in homes since 1971, where they were first mandated for use with swimming pool equipment. Today, GFCI outlets are required to meet code in areas where the risk of electrical shock is increased due to exposure to risk factors such as water. For the utmost safety, ensure your home has GFCIs in all the following areas:
* Kitchens (even dishwashers)
* Laundry areas (with or without a sink)
* Pool and spa areas
* Wet bars
* Crawlspaces and unfinished basements
* Outdoor areas
Though GFCI outlets can protect you against electrocution – even in outlets that are not grounded – they are not recommended for use with refrigerators, freezers, or other appliances that could trip without your knowledge.
Older home? Add a little inexpensive life insurance with the help of GFCI outlets. Contact your local Mr. Electric professional today.