GFCI Receptacles

This is Part 5 of a six-part series to help you better understand your home’s electrical system components.  You can see the other parts here.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Receptacles (GFCIs) will be located in your kitchen, bathrooms, garage, basement, and outdoors.  The GFCI is a safety device designed to shut off should it detect even the slightest variance in current between the “hot” side of the receptacle and the neutral side.  A variance would mean the electricity is going somewhere other than where it is supposed to, which could be dangerous.  That is why you’ll find these near possible wet locations – i.e. sinks, tubs, or outside.

There may be other regular receptacles protected by a GFCI.  If a GFCI receptacle shuts itself off, you can reset it by pushing the reset button on the receptacle.  You will find two buttons on the GFCI: the previously mentioned reset button and the trip button.  The trip button is used to test the GFCI.  By pushing it, the GFCI should shut off.  Then, reset it by pressing the reset button.  This test is recommended to be done monthly.

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