A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protects you from electrocution as a result of faulty electrical equipment. Hundreds of Americans die from electrocution each year. That is why new standards call for a GFCI outlet in kitchens, bathrooms, or any area exposed standing water or rain.

How Does a GFCI Work?

A GFCI outlet protects a structure from an electrical fire. It continuously monitors electricity flowing into the circuit to determine if there is any loss of current. If a hot wire accidentally touches a neutral wire—say a rodent eats the insulation, or you knock a nail through the insulation—then excessive current will flow through the circuit and heat up. In this case, the GFCI outlet would detect the difference in current between the two ends. Thus, the circuit would be  immediately cut to reduce possible electrocution.

GFCI Installation

The GFCI is installed into the electrical outlet itself. When an appliance such as a hairdryer or toaster is plugged into an electrical outlet, the GFCI automatically detects the amount of power flowing into the appliance. If the appliance accidentally falls into water, the GFCI senses the interruption in the flow of current and cuts off the power.

Is the GFCI Outlet Working?

A GFCI has two buttons (in most cases one red button and one black button) in front. If the red button is out and won’t stay in when you push it, then you need to check the breaker. Reset the circuit if it tripped and push the reset button.

If the problem persists, then unplug all appliances plugged into the outlets. When you plug the appliances back into the outlets, the faulty appliance will prevent the GFCI from resetting. If the red button is all the way in and there is still no power to the GFCI and its connected outlets, then you should push the black test button. The red button should pop out. If it doesn’t, then the outlet is probably defective. In this case you should call an electrician.

If you need to have GFCI outlets installed and want reliable residential electrical service in Westminster, MD, contact Tim Kyle Electric. Your family’s safety is our priority.