15
Jan

Ever wonder why the outlets in your kitchen and bathrooms are different than the rest of your rooms? The use of water in bathrooms and kitchens make it more likely to receive an electrical shock. GFCI outlets are designed to provide protection in these conditions.

What is a GFCI?

A ground-fault circuit interrupter, viagra or GFCI, is a device used in electrical wiring to disconnect a circuit when unbalanced current is detected between an energized conductor and a neutral return conductor.  Such an imbalance is sometimes caused by current “leaking” through a person who is simultaneously in contact with a ground and an energized part of the circuit, which could result in lethal shock.  GFCIs are designed to provide protection in such a situation.

In the United States it is estimated that about 300 deaths by electrocution occur every year.  In order to mitigate the possibility of injury or fatality from electric shock the use of GFCIs has been adopted in new construction and recommended as an upgrade in older construction.

 Shock from plug

NEC Requirements for GFCIs

National Electric Code (NEC) started requiring GFCI for very specific applications starting in 1968. Since then they have added other areas and made some exceptions to improve the safety of our homes and work places.

Testing Receptacle-Type GFCIs

Receptacle-type GFCIs are currently designed to allow for safe and easy testing that can be performed without any professional or technical knowledge of electricity.  GFCIs should be tested right after installation to make sure they are working properly and protecting the circuit.  They should also be tested once a month to make sure they are working properly and are providing protection from fatal shock.

 

To test the receptacle GFCI, first plug a nightlight or lamp into the outlet. The light should be on.  Then press the “TEST” button on the GFCI. The “RESET” button should pop out, and the light should turn off.

 

If the “RESET” button pops out but the light does not turn off, the GFCI has been improperly wired. Contact an electrician to correct the wiring errors.

 

If the “RESET” button does not pop out, the GFCI is defective and should be replaced.

If the GFCI is functioning properly and the lamp turns off, press the “RESET” button to restore power to the outlet.

GFCI_receptacle

Why Test my GFCI outlets?

GFCI outlets wear out and can function as an outlet but not trip when needed. Even new outlets out of the box have been known to not work correctly.  Testing them on a regular basis will ensure that you know they are working correctly.

Take 5 minutes and test your outlets.

 

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