Expert Electric Blog

Everything You Need to Know About GFCI Outlets

Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets are an essential element of every modern home as they help to minimize the risk of electrical shock and other electrical hazards. These units can be identified by the presence of a reset button or switch between the two outlets, making it easy to determine if you have them installed in your home. As a leading provider of commercial and residential electrical services, the team at Expert Electric knows how useful GFCI outlets can be. That is why we have compiled a guide outlining everything you need to know about GFCI outlets to demonstrate their value.

Learn what ungrounded outlets are and why they are hazardous.

3 Important Questions About GFCI Outlets

The following questions and answers will help you develop a clear understanding of what GFCI outlets do, where they should be installed, and how to reset them if needed:

1. What is the Purpose of a GFCI Outlet?

A GFCI outlet is designed to immediately cut off power whenever there is a ground fault, which occurs when an electrical current is unexpectedly grounded. The outlet senses ground faults by monitoring the current that is running between the hot and neutral ends of the circuit. If the system detects a difference in current between the two ends, it immediately cuts the circuit off and significantly reduces the risk of electrocution or damage to devices plugged into the outlet.

2. Where Should GFCI Outlets be Installed?

GFCI outlets should be installed in the following areas of your home:

  • Bathrooms – All bathroom receptacles should have GFCI outlets installed due to the high moisture content of the environment.
  • Basements – All unfinished basements and crawl spaces should include GFCI outlets as these are high-moisture areas and can contain a lot of dust.
  • Kitchens – Any outlet within six feet of the sink should be a GFCI outlet.
  • Laundry Rooms – Every outlet in a laundry room should be a GFCI outlet for optimal protection in the event of a leak or broken hose.
  • Outside – Outdoor outlets can be exposed to rain and snow. To minimize the risk of electrical damage, be sure to install GFCI outlets outside. This is especially true for areas near pools or hot tubs.

3. How do you Reset a GFCI Outlet?

While resetting a GFCI outlet is easy, you should inspect the area around the outlet before doing so. Check for water, dust, grease, or worn wires and ensure that the outlet itself has not sustained any damage. With these tasks completed, push the reset button on the front of the outlet. If the outlet immediately trips again, you may need to hire a professional electrician to inspect it.

To learn more about GFCI outlets or to inquire about our electrical installation services, get in touch with the team at Expert Electric. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services or the details of your project.