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What are Ground Fault Interrupters?

Posted on July 31st, 2019 by Jupiter Tequesta

White electrical cords plugged into white outlet on a red wall

Ground Fault Interrupters (GFIs) are outlets that quickly prevent electrical shocks, and can help to lower your risk out electrical problems in your home. GFIs interrupt an outlet’s flow of electricity when an unfamiliar or damaging variant is detected. These variants include things like excessive moisture, overheating of a faulty appliance, or a short in the supply wire. If you’re looking to add a safeguard to your home’s primary electrical outlets, GFIs may be the option for you.

Ground Fault Interrupters vs. Standard Electrical Outlets

Electricity runs through wires to a standard duplex wall outlet, and in a standard outlet, there is no mechanism to interrupt that current. A GFI supplies current similarly. However, this type of outlet has a failsafe mechanism that interrupts or stops the flow of electricity under adverse condition

Test and Reset Buttons

A GFI outlet has a test button and a reset button. The test button can be used to check that the outlet is supplying power as it is designed to do. The reset button is useful if the outlet has tripped off to restrict the flow of electricity. A GFI outlet works similar to the way a circuit breaker does. When the electrical current becomes compromised by moisture, excessive heat, or even a crimp in the wire, the reset button will trip and interrupt the flow of current. Any appliance that’s plugged in will turn off, preventing any potentially severe damage. This prevents the possibility of a fire or shock to anyone nearby.

The test button is useful in determining if the outlet is functioning correctly. The way to use the test button is to plug in a small household appliance, such as a blender or a hairdryer. Turn it on, and then depress the test button. Then, if the outlet is working properly, the reset button will trip the outlet, and the appliance should turn off.

Once the source of power interruption has been identified and repaired, the reset button can be depressed to restore the normal flow of electricity. It is imperative that you hire a reputable licensed electrician to safely and accurately determine the cause of your electrical problem. They can pinpoint the location of the power interruption and make a repair if necessary.

Locations of Ground Fault Interrupters

GFI outlets are most commonly installed in areas of the home where moisture is present. These include:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Pool enclosures
  • Patios and decks
  • Detached garages
  • Unfinished basements

Installation of GFI outlets is best performed by a licensed professional. An electrician has experience with local electrical and building codes for required placement.
Give our experts at Jupiter-Tequesta A/C, Plumbing & Electric a call for more information on upgrading your electrical outlets. We’re available 24/7 to help out with any questions or concerns! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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