GFCI outlets, or ground fault circuit interrupters, protect against the risk of electrical shock. GFCI outlet installation provides an inexpensive solution to preventing electrical shock and offers the added bonus of bringing your home up to modern building code standards. Mr. Electric® will help keep your family safe by performing your GFCI outlet installations and replacements.
What Is a GFCI Outlet?
GFCI outlets are required in areas like kitchens, bathrooms and garages, where the risk of electrical shock is greatest. GFCIs can be identified by the “test” and “reset” buttons located on the receptacle. These outlets help protect you from electrical hazards by monitoring the amount of electricity flowing in a circuit. The moment the outlet detects an imbalance in the flow of electricity, the GFCI cuts off power to the outlet.
How to Operate a GFCI Outlet
If your GFCI outlet stops the flow of power under normal operating conditions, press the “reset” button to restore power. GFCIs are much more reliable than depending on the circuit breaker in your electrical panel to stop current flow, as GFCIs are more sensitive to small variations in current. In fact, they are designed to cut off power flow before an electric shock can affect your heartbeat. Because of this critical safety function, it is important to test all of the GFCI outlets in your home monthly.
How to Test GFCI Outlet Performance
- Press the “test” button to stop electrical flow to the outlet.
- Plug in a night light or other small device that uses a minimal amount of electricity to ensure current is no longer flowing to the receptacle.
- Press the “reset” button to return power flow to the outlet.
If your GFCI outlet fails any part of this test, click to schedule your GFCI outlet replacement with Mr. Electric.
Where Are GFCI Outlets Required?
GFCIs have been required in homes since 1971, when they were mandated for use with swimming pool equipment and along the exterior walls surrounding pools. Today, there are many other areas of your home where GFCI outlets are required, especially in areas where the risk of electrical shock is increased due to possible exposure to risk factors such as water.
GFCI outlets are required in:
- Spa and pool areas since 1971
- Your home’s exterior since 1973
- Bathrooms since 1975
- Garages since 1978
- Kitchen countertops since 1987
- Crawlspaces and unfinished basements since 1990
- Wet bars since 1993
- Laundry and utility sinks since 2005
Limitations of GFCI Outlets
GFCI outlets should not be used as receptacles for refrigerators or freezers. These appliances can generate electromagnetic interference that will trip GFCI outlets. Most stoves and dryers require 240 amp power outlets and are not compatible with GFCIs. Some small appliances with heating elements, such as irons, hair dryers or toaster ovens, can also trip GFCI outlets. Lastly, plugging too many devices into one extension cord will also trip the GFCI outlet the extension cord is plugged into.
Upgrade Your Home’s Power Receptacles to GFCI Outlets
Many older homes have lacked GFCI outlets for quite some time, putting their occupants at increased risk of electrical shock. Don’t wait on installing these inexpensive, potentially life-saving devices. Call Mr. Electric at (844) 866-1367 or click to submit a service request to protect yourself and your family with GFCI outlet installations.