May 1, 2024

The Need for GFCI Outlets

Ground fault circuit interrupter outlets, or GFCIs, are critical for electrical safety in homes. Without them, individuals run the risk of electrocution or fires. Before GFCI’s became common, 800 people died annually from electrocution in the U.S., that number is now fewer than 200. Electrical fires still result in $1.6 billion in annual property damage.

How Do GFCI Outlets Work?

GFCIs work by turning off the power when circuits become overloaded or blocking electrical current that has crossed water. This might happen when you have too many appliances plugged in or are using faulty extension cords in wet areas.

The National Electrical Code requires that homes and buildings have GFCI outlets in bathrooms, garages, crawl spaces, basements, laundry rooms, areas with sinks and anywhere there is a water source present.

“Follow the GFCI requirements. If you are missing one or they aren’t working, call an electrician,” said Josh Ward, owner of Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric. “The risk is too high if you don’t.”

How to Test a GFCI Outlet

To check to see if your GFCI outlet is working, follow these steps:

  1. Push the “reset” button.
  2. Plug in a nightlight or similar device (the light should be on).
  3. Press the test button (light should turn off).
  4. Press the reset button again to turn the light on.

If your light did not turn off in step 3, your GFCI is not working properly and Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric advises calling a professional.

Installing GFCI Outlets and Preventing Shock

GFCIs are inexpensive to install. There are three types of GFCIs: receptacle, circuit breaker and temporary. Temporary GFCIs shouldn’t be used in permanent homes, professionals use them for construction work. For help determining the correct outlet for your home, call Applewood.

There are multiple ways an individual can be shocked or electrocuted. Here are some general guidelines to follow for electrocution prevention:

7 Electric Shock Safety Tips

  1. Never use a damaged extension cord. Also, keep extension cords away from young children and pets as they might chew on them causing a shock and short in your electrical system.
  2. Never use a defective electrical device, such as those with exposed wiring.
  3. Pull on the plug, not the cable when unplugging a device.
  4. Unplug the toaster before trying to retrieve toast.
  5. Before changing a lightbulb, switch off the light.
  6. Unplug your iron before filling it with water.
  7. In the bathroom, don’t use electrical devices like a hair dryer or curling iron near sinks or in the shower.

Help with GFCI Outlets and All Your Family’s Electrical Needs

Applewood proudly serves all of Denver, Colorado’s electrical needs. Whether it’s installing new, safe, grounded outlets in your home or adding outdoor lights to your patio, you can trust Applewood’s licensed electricians to get the job done quickly and properly. For fast response, contact Applewood today.

Call  303-328-3060

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