What is a GFCI outlet?
A ground fault circuit interrupter Outlet (GFCI outlet) is a protective device specifically designed to break the circuit every time there is an imbalance between incoming and outgoing electrical current. The GFCI outlet protects electrical wiring from overheating and catching fire, greatly minimizing the risk of shock injuries and fatal burns. It also detects ground faults and disrupts the flow of current but cannot replace a fuse as it does not offer protection against short circuits and overloading
How Does A GFCI Outlet Work?
The GFCI constantly tracks the current flowing in a circuit to sense fluctuations in real-time. It has three holes: two of the holes are for neutral and hot wires and the third hole in the middle serves as a ground wire. If it detects any change in the electrical flow in the circuit, it will immediately cut off the flow of electricity.
Newer outlets usually have a blinking light indicating when a trip has occurred. All units have reset and test buttons.
Where are they needed?
GFCI outlets are especially important when the electrical outlets are positioned close to water. You will see these in wet areas including kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and garages. Apart from being an essential preventive measure, the law also requires you to have GFCI outlets installed throughout your home. GFCI outlets should also be installed on temporary wiring systems during construction, renovation or maintenance of structures that are using power temporarily.
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Why Does A GFCI Outlet Trip and What To Do When It Trips
The ground fault circuit interrupter averts ground faults by immediately disrupting the flow of current from the outlet. Press the reset buttons and test the outlet by plugging in another device. If the breaker has tripped, check the electrical panel box, and turn it off and on. If the breaker won’t turn on, call a licensed electrician don’t try to do this yourself.
Periodic testing is very important to ensure that the GFCI outlet is always functional. If the outlet is tripping often, it probably needs to be inspected by a certified electrician for worn out insulation, accumulated dust, or deteriorated wiring.
What Are The Benefits
One of the biggest exposures from electrical devices is electrocution. The outlets prevent shocks and electrocution as its built-in sensor monitors the electrical flow from all appliances. If the appliance is plugged into the outlet and the electrical flow changes, the outlet will shut off the power automatically.
As the outlets also detect ground faults, there is no risk of an electrical fire.
Plugging appliances into these outlets will also shut down the power if electric current leaks into an older appliance with deteriorating insulation.
How To Install A GFCI Outlet
To install a GFCI Outlet/ Receptacle:
Check for GFCI Protection in Your Home
- Go room to room in your home to see if there are any GFCI outlets installed.
Turn Off the Power
- Turn the power off at the fuse or circuit breaker.
- Remove the wall plate and use a tester to ensure that the power is off.
Remove the old outlet
- Remove the existing outlet and pull it out of the circuit box.
- You will see 2 or more exposed wires. Do not allow the wires to touch each other and then turn on the switch.
- Use a tester to identify the wires that carry power.
- Mark the power carrying wires and shut the power off again.
Install the GFCI Outlet
- The GFCI outlet consists of 2 sets of wires marked as ‘line’ and ‘load’. The line set carries the incoming power, and the load set distributes the power among additional outlets. Connect the power wire (black) to the line set and the white wire to the load set on the outlet. Secure the connections using a wire nut and wrap them using electrical to tape.
- Now connect the ground wire to the green screw on the GFCI plug.
Put the GFCI plug back in the box and cover it again using a wall plate
- Carefully put the GFCI outlet into the box and mount the wall
How To Self-Test Your GFCI Outlet
It is recommended that GFCI outlet should be tested every month and replaced every decade. You can follow these simple steps to test if the circuit interrupter is working properly:
- On the face of the GFCI outlet there are two small buttons labeled test and reset. Press the test button. You will hear a snapping sound indicating the outlet has tripped.
- Once the power trips, you can check the efficiency of the GFCI unit using a voltage meter.
- Now plug in a device into the outlet and when it stops working, press the test button so you can test the safety mechanism.
- Once you know the CFGI outlet is working at peak efficiency, press the reset button and the circuit interrupter will turned on again.
While these DIY instructions are easy-to-follow, they require that you are familiar with and understand the functioning of your home’s electrical system.
It is always recommended to work with a certified electrician who can ensure that your system complies with relevant building and electrical code so your home remains guarded against electric fires. You should definitely install GFCI outlets, both at your home and workplace, primarily for safety reasons.
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The team of High Mark is your best choice for all of your electrical services. At High Mark we offer professional technicians, 5 Star Customer Service and no surprise Up Front Pricing.
When you are looking for expert Vancouver Electrical Service High Mark is the best choice you can make. High Mark offers our electrical services in the entire lower mainland including Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and more.
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