GFCI Outlets

What Are GFCI Outlets and Why Are They Important?

August 15, 2019

GFCI outlets can save your life. They’re protective devices which monitor any variations between the circuit’s incoming and outgoing current. A GFCI is sensitive to any imbalance in current, so it switches off by tripping the circuit whenever it senses an imbalance. Learn more about how ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets are used to keep you safe in your Raleigh, North Carolina, home.

How Does A GFCI Outlet Work?

When you plug in an appliance, like an iron, the GFCI outlet monitors how much electricity is going to the appliance. If you accidentally drop the iron into a sink full of water, the GFCI will detect the interruptions and trip the power — possibly saving your life.

Where Should You Have GFCI Outlets Installed in Your Home?

GFCI outlets should be installed in the following areas:

  • In all bathroom receptacles.
  • In any outside areas that aren’t considered "habitable" such as sheds or garages.
  • In any crawl spaces or unfinished basements.
  • In all kitchen and laundry receptacles near major appliances or near the sink.
  • In all outside outlets, including those used for external lighting or those located near your pool.

Are you busy doing home renovations? During construction, all temporary wiring systems need to have GFCI outlets installed.

Does a GFCI Outlet Wear Out?

In short, the answer is yes. GFCI outlets should be tested once a month. To test a GFCI outlet, press the reset button, then plug in an electronic device such as a night light. The device should turn on. Now, press the test button. If your GFCI outlet is working, it will immediately cut the power. Press reset again, and your device should turn on. If the light doesn’t turn on when you press the test button, the GFCI isn’t working correctly and won’t protect you from a shock.

Besides the legal aspect of GFCI outlets, the advantages of installing these outlets include protection for your household against electrocution, electrical fires, and damage to your appliances.

If you want to learn more about our electrical services, contact Cape Fear Air Conditioning, Heating, & Electrical Company, Inc. at 919-246-5801.

Image provided by iStock

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