To ensure that your home is safe from electrical surges and the potential damage that they bring, GFCI outlets should be installed in all high-use areas. As an inexpensive solution to preventing shocks that can prove quite hazardous to your home, proper GFCI installation, maintenance, and replacement should be a top priority. From initial installation to ongoing service, Ontime Electric has the GFCI outlet solutions you need.
What Is a GFCI Outlet?
GFCI outlets, otherwise known as ‘ground fault circuit interrupters’, are installed in your home to protect against the risk of electrical shock. Placed in high-voltage areas, such as the kitchen, bathroom, or garage, these outlets are designed to cut off power to the moment it detects an imbalance in the flow of electricity. GFCI outlets are visually marked by their ‘test’ and ‘reset’ buttons on the receptacle.
How to Operate a GFCI Outlet
Operating a GFCI plug is very similar to that of a non-GFCI, except for the fact that it has maintenance buttons on the front panel. Should your GFCI outlet experience a surge in power beyond what’s expected, it will immediately cut off – protecting you from any surges. Should this occur, there is a ‘reset’ button on the panel that will allow you to re-engage the charge. In addition to the reset button, there is a test button that will allow you to ensure that GFCI plug is working properly – this should be used at least once per month.
GFCI Outlet Installation
GFCI outlet installations are required in all areas that pose high shock-risks, including pools, bathrooms, garages, kitchens, laundry rooms, unfinished basements, and more. Installing these outlets is a task best performed by a professional, as it’s important that the GFCI outlet installation is performed correctly and is adequately tested.
Just as other items throughout your home will wear with time, you’ll be required to perform a GFCI replacement every so often. The best way to determine whether or not your GFCI outlet is ready for replacement is by testing the unit with the built-in function. The following steps should be followed:
- Press ‘test’ on the front panel to stop the electrical flow running through the outlet
- Plug in a small device (night light, phone charger, etc) that uses a minimal amount of electricity. Ensure that the current is no longer flowing through the outlet and providing power.
- Press ‘reset’ on the front panel to re-engage the electrical flow running through the outlet.
Should the outlet fail any part of this test, it’s important that you have an electrical expert – such as our team at Ontime Electric – come and replace the faulty outlet to ensure that no damage occurs.
GFCI Breaker Wiring
GFCI outlets are wired to ensure that any abnormal measures of electricity running to the outlet immediately result in power being cut off. This is a far better protection method than the standard circuit breakers in your electrical panel, as it’s far more sensitive to slight changes in electrical current and can break the power supply prior to any harm occurring to the end-user.
Preventing and Avoiding Electric Shocks
In addition to the safety benefits that accompany a GFCI outlet in your home, there are a variety of other measures you can take to avoid electric shocks, including:
- Not using your GFCI outlets as a receptacle for refrigerators or freezers. These large appliances may generate electromagnetic interference than trips that GFCI outlet and prevents it from accurately detecting power surges.
- Not using your GFCI outlet for most stoves, dryers, or any other item requires 240-amp or more of electricity.
- Not using your GFCI plug for too many small appliances at one time. Items such as toaster ovens, irons, hair dryers, and more can wreak havoc on the security features built into your GFCI outlet, and having too many of them plugged in at once will almost certainly result in a power trip.
Upgrade Your Home’s Power Receptacles to GFCI Outlets
When it comes to keeping your family and home safe, it’s important that you rely on an electrical team with decades of experience. Our expert team will perform a thorough inspection of your home outlets and power supply, upgrading your power receptacles to industry leading GFCI outlets wherever possible. To learn more about our services and pricing, or to schedule a GFCI upgrade appointment, contact us today.