Every home is required to have Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets which are designed to protect individuals from electrical shocks. A GFCI works by comparing the input current to the output current. If the input current is slightly higher, even by a few milliamps, then the GFCI will quickly cut off the power supply to the leaking device within 20-30 milliseconds. GFCI outlets significantly reduce the risk of electrocution.
GFCI outlets are installed in areas where water is frequently used. The National Electric Code requires GFCI outlets in the following areas:
– All areas
– Under the eaves of roofs
– At least one GFCI-receptacle in multifamily dwellings with individual entrances at grade level
– Outlets with 150 volts to ground or less and up to 50 amps
– Unfinished areas not intended for use
– Within 6 feet of the top inside edge of the bowl of a sink
Bathtubs or Shower Stalls
– Within 6 feet of the outside edge of a bathtub or shower stall
Garages and Accessories
– Including areas used for storage or work
– Spaces at or below grade level
– Areas where heating, refrigeration and AC equipment is installed
– Required for 120-volt lighting outlets
Kitchen Countertop Surfaces
– Required for outlets serving countertop surfaces
– Required for dishwasher outlets
– All areas
How to Test a GFCI Outlet
It’s important to test your GFCI outlets to make sure that they’re working properly. You can test a GFCI by pressing the TEST button, You should hear a snapping sound signaling that the power to the outlet has been cut off.
To confirm that the power really has been cut off, plug in a device into each half of the outlet. If the devices don’t work, then you can be sure that the GFCI outlet is working properly. Be sure to press the RESET button to restore power to the outlet.
You may also use a voltage tester or a multimeter to check for power.
Don’t hesitate to give us a call with any questions about GFCI outlets or electrical maintenance.