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GFCI Outlet 101

GFCI Outlet 101

School Is In Session! The Subject? GFCI Outlets And How They Keep You Safe!

There is an average of 70 electrical outlets in most U.S. homes, and since the 1980s, GFCI electrical outlets have been a requirement for several types of rooms…and here’s why!

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, and these interrupters help to minimize the risk of overheating, electric shock injuries, burns, and fires. The outlet’s sensors monitor the input and output of the electrical current levels being passed through an outlet. If the GFCI technology senses any electrical current imbalance, the device will quickly cut off the power supply to prevent damage or injury. 

How Do GFCI Outlets Work?

Ever wondered why you had to click that “RESET” button on your outlet when you go to power on your hair dryer? Chances are, your GFCI outlet was working to keep you safe! The GFCI is integrated into the original electrical outlet and constantly tracks the electrical flow from the circuit, sensing minute fluctuations in real time. GFCI outlets have three wires that work together to prevent electrical disasters; the hot wire, the neutral wire, and the ground wire. For example, suppose that the same hairdryer you picked up happens to slip from your hand straight into the running sink water. In that case, the circuit wires will immediately sense the interruption in current and cut power to the outlet, ensuring the user’s safety.

Where is a GFCI Outlet Needed?

GFCI outlets must be installed in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms, pool house, basement, or any place where water might come into contact. Since it is required by law to have GFCI outlets installed throughout some regions of your home, a certified electrician needs to inspect your outlets to ensure that your home complies with state safety codes. They’ll be able to advise where outlets are a requirement and where they’re just a recommendation.


The only downside to GFCI outlets is that they wear out over time. It’s recommended that GFCI outlets should be tested once a month and replaced every decade. Follow these simple steps to test if your circuit interrupter is working correctly:

  1. The face of the GFCI outlet features two small buttons labeled “TEST” and “RESET.” Press the “RESET” button to prepare for testing.
  2. Plug in a light or something you can quickly determine has power and turn it on. It should power on immediately.
  3. Now press the “TEST” button, and the light should go off, signaling the mechanism.
  4. Once you know the GFCI outlet is working correctly, you can press the “RESET” button, and the circuit interrupter will be turned on again.

Click below to check out our “How-To” infographic to print and keep for future tests.

How To Test Your GFCI Outlet

3 Benefits of Installing GFCI Outlets

The peace of mind on its own is enough to make anyone want to trade out all their standard outlets for GFCIs, but in case you needed a recap, GFCI outlets help to…

  1. Prevent Shocks and burn injuries
  2. Avoid damage to appliances and other technology
  3. Prevent fatal electrical fires

The main reason to install GFCI outlets is for your home and family’s safety. Contact us to have one of our highly trained electricians come to your home and install peace of mind today!

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