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How GFCI Outlets Keep You Safe

GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets are generally installed in areas where the outlet could likely become wet, such as in the bathroom or outdoors. The fairly recent widespread use of GFCI outlets has decreased the amount of deaths by electrocution by about 75%. This is because the GFCI outlet monitors the amount of power going to the device. So, if you were accidentally drop an appliance into a sink full of water, the GFCI detects the interruption in current and cuts the power.

If you are to look at an outlet, you will find two slots and a hole. The left slot is slightly larger than the right; this is the 'neutral' slot. The slightly smaller right slot is call the 'hot'. The round opening below them is the 'ground'. A properly working appliance will have its electricity flow from hot to neutral. The GFCI outlet monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral and should there ever be an imbalance it will trip the circuit to cut the power to that appliance.

Moisture is the biggest cause of ground faults; the result of a ground fault could be life threatening. If electricity flows from hot to ground through you due to moisture, the result is a ground fault, and it could be fatal. The GFCI will sense the current flowing through you because of the difference in electric current flowing from hot to neutral and will immediately cut off the electricity.

Important to note is that GFCI outlets do wear out, so they should be tested about regularly; we'd suggest at least once a month. 

How to Test a GFCI outlet:

  1. Press the Reset button

  2. Plug in any type of electrical device; it should work normally

  3. Press the Test button; if working properly, the power will be immediately cut

  4. Press Reset again, and your device should turn on again

If the power is not cut when you press the Test button, your outlet needs to be services.

 

Give us a call and we can get it fixed for you in a timely manner! Until them, please refrain from using the faulty outlet due to safety concerns.

© 2019 By Laurelton Electric - A Licensed Electrician in New York