What is a GFCI outlet and where is one needed?

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or GFCI is a life-saving and quick-to-react device installed in areas within the house to protect it from a ground fault. A ground fault is an instance when the electrical current escapes from the insulated wires into the ground which can cause electrocution or electrical shock. GFCIs detect imbalances happening in the electrical current and they quickly turn off the power in your device to minimize the risk of electrical shock. GFCIs are mandated by law to be installed in newly built houses to enhance their safety features. It is also a good idea for older houses to have these outlets. GFCIs are installed in electrical outlets located in areas where electricity can possibly come in contact with water such as those near a moisture source or plumbing fixture. Examples are those found in the bathroom, laundry, sinks, and water heater.

If there are broken electrical outlets in your house, you should have them replaced. For some, this is a DIY task because they have the knowledge and skill to do it. But for many homeowners, it is advisable to hire an electrician to get the job done properly. Contact Arc Angel Electric to have your GFCI outlets replaced by the best electricians in town. Our professional electricians will make sure that the wirings are properly connected to prevent injuries due to electric shock. This is very important as it could save your life. Entrust the job to the pros. Call Arc Angel Electric for quality electrical services.

Do all outlets in the kitchen need to be GFCI?

According to the National Electrical Code, all serving countertop surfaces need to have GFCI installed. This means not all receptacles in your kitchen need to have GFCI. They are also required for your countertop receptacles near the kitchen sink and walls behind countertop breakfast bars. Residential refrigerators are not required to be plugged into a GFCI. However, many homeowners are now realizing that it is a good precautionary measure to do so since refrigerators are prone to electrical malfunctions such as moisture accumulation and electrical insulation. Remember, you don’t need to install GFCI in every outlet. 1 GFCI can protect every device along with its circuit.

What is the difference between a GFI and a GFCI?

There has been some debate and uncertainty between a GFI and a GFCI. They do the same thing. They both function to break the current when a ground fault is detected thereby offering protection to the persons using electrical appliances. Their main difference lies in the word Circuit in GFCI. A GFCI protects all devices along its circuit while a Ground Fault Interrupter is more localized. A GFI offers protection at its point of use such as individual appliances or extension cords.

Can I replace all outlets with GFCI?

Due to its life-saving feature, many homeowners are wondering if they can replace all outlets with GFCI. While this is not required by law, you can replace almost all of your electrical outlets with GFCI. There are those asking which one is better – a GFCI outlet or GFCI circuit breaker. A GFCI circuit breaker protects the entire circuit while a GFCI outlet offers protection to a single outlet only. GFCI outlets are easier to install and reset. GFCI circuit breakers are more practical to use when all outlets in a particular circuit require protection like for example a circuit for a garage workshop.

What causes GFI to trip?

There are cases when your GFI outlet or GFCI breaker trips. This happens when the outlet or breaker when it is already worn out or too much amount of current. Other devices along the circuit also influence the GFI sensitivity causing it to trip. If this keeps on happening, look for what’s causing the leak in the electrical current and make sure to have it repaired by an electrician. To check, unplug everything from the outlet then plug back one at a time to determine the appliance that’s causing the trip. Check the appliance for any damages or worn-out parts. There’s also a leakage current tester that you can use. If there’s water in your GFCI outlet, you can use a blow dryer to dry it out then reset your GFCI.

Can you install a GFCI outlet anywhere?

A GFCI outlet is required in wet or damp locations around the house. You need the services of an electrical professional to have an outlet installed. An electrician will ensure that your outlet is properly installed according to the National Electrical Code, get the necessary permits, and give you sound advice regarding any additional things to be done for your electrical project. Replacing an electrical outlet should be easy and you can replace the outlets by yourself. However, you must follow certain procedures to ensure your safety. To be certain, it’s best to entrust the job to the pros at Arc Angel Electric. How do you know if you have a GFCI outlet? A GFCI outlet looks like any other standard electrical outlet. You would know if an outlet is equipped with GFCI when it has a built-in test and reset button into the outlet. When the breaker has tripped, you need to reset it to restore the electrical current in that outlet. But if your GFCI won’t reset, you need to do some troubleshooting. Press the Test button then push the Reset button.

If it doesn’t work, dry your GFCI outlet using a blow dryer to remove any moisture. When it’s completely dry, try to reset it again. You can also check the main breaker to where your GCFI is connected to. Switch the main breaker back on then press the Reset button on your GFCI outlet. You can also use a circuit tester. If there is current then it would show immediately on your tester. Press the reset button again. If there’s no current but the main breaker is working fine then your GFCI is faulty and you need to have it replaced. Wear and tear cause a GFCI to be defective. After years of usage, the sensitive circuits within the GFCI can go bad. On average, it lasts for about 10 years but in areas prone to power outages and storms, it can be about 5 years. Worn-out insulation, moisture or water, conductive dust or debris, and electrical wiring deterioration can cause your GFCI to trip. When this happens, have it replaced immediately to avoid further problems.

GFCIs protect home dwellers from electrocution. Since their introduction to the National Electric Code, many lives have been saved. GFCIs save lives so make sure you have them installed properly for your family’s protection. Call Arc Angel Electric if you need GFCI outlets installed to get the best electrical service from the pros.

company icon