Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt Devices (GFCI)

Today’s post is about Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt Devices (GFCI). Most of you know what these look like, but here’s a little more information about what they are and how to use them.
By definition, a ground fault interrupter is a highly sensitive safety device installed in areas of your home where shock potential is highest. GFCI electric outlets prevent electrical shock, and are installed in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and exterior areas where water may be present. GFCI receptacles are sensitive to power surges and interrupt power under certain conditions to prevent injury. These are special circuit breakers that are designed to break the flow of electricity in the event of a short circuit. This will prevent dangerous electrical shock. When this occurs, the GFCI outlets will need to be reset according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

GFCI outlets are often wired in a series. For example, the bathroom GFCI outlet controls the bathroom, and may possibly control other outlets throughout the interior and exterior as well as the garage.

If there is no power in a bathroom, kitchen, garage, or outside receptacle, these receptacles may be connected to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (GFCI) device designed to interrupt the flow of electricity preventing electrical injury or damage. Locate the nearest GFCI outlet. Also Check the GFCI in the bathroom. Also be aware that some homes have multiple GFCI circuits, so be certain to inspect and reset the affected outlet. If the reset button has tripped, press it in to restore power. If that does not work, check and reset the circuit breaker in the panel box first, then press the GFCI reset button. If the outlet still fails, it may indicate a short in the appliance being used. If power is not restored, determine of the circuit is being overloaded. Two hair dryers of other appliances being used on one circuit could cause a breaker to trip. If other appliances will not operate, an electrician should be contacted.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Unattended appliances such as freezers, refrigerators etc. cannot be used on GFCI circuits. Do not plug appliances such as power tools, air conditioners, freezers, or refrigerators into GFCI outlets. The electrical surge that occurs when these appliances cycle will trip the GFCI outlets and break the circuit. These devices need to be plugged into a dedicated outlet.

To test GFCI circuits, press the Test button on the receptacle. The outlet should not perform. To reset, press the Reset button.

We hope this helps you feel a little more informed about GFCI’s!

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