Although it may happen more than you’d think, most people know that operating electrical equipment in or around water is very dangerous. Electricity will always take the shortest path possible, which means that it could travel through arms, legs and the rest of your body to reach the puddle. If this were to happen when you were plugged into a standard electrical outlet, this accident could result in death.
In order to increase the safety of our homes and workplaces, the National Electric Code has required that special GFI outlets be used in any area where water could be present. This includes kitchens, bathrooms, garages and outdoors. Ground Fault Interrupters (GFIs) are designed to detect any electrical problems and shut off the current immediately. In the example mentioned above, this could mean the difference between life and death.
The easiest way to tell if an outlet is a GFI outlet is by its appearance. GFI outlets have buttons on the front labeled “TEST” and “RESET”. To test whether or not a GFI is functioning properly, just press the test button. This should cause the reset button to pop up, while shutting off power to the entire outlet. After you have made sure everything is working correctly, just press the reset button to restore your outlet to full functionality. Always make sure to test your GFI outlets monthly, because they do not last as long as standard electrical outlets. If you are interested in more tips for GFIs, then click here.
If you live in an older home, you should make sure that all of your kitchens, bathrooms, garages and outdoor spaces have GFI outlets in them. With the exception of refrigerator outlets, all receptacles in these areas should be protected by a GFI. If you need to have new GFI outlets installed, or have any that are not working properly, call us today for a Free Estimate or Free Home Safety Inspection. Having working GFI outlets is a great, yet inexpensive way to increase the safety of your home.