Check Your Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters


Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI), are designed to sense fluctuation in power flow at an electrical outlet and automatically cut the power to prevent electrical shock. GFCIs take three forms for residential use.

The most common type is the GFCI receptacle found in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, basements and outdoors. The second type is a dead front GFCI unit generally used to protect hot tubs and swimming pools. The third style is a GFCI circuit breaker installed in the service panel or remote disconnect, also used to protect hot tubs and pools.

The safety assured by a GFCI is dependent on the unit being in good working condition. All GFCI products are required by the manufacturer to be tested monthly and, for the safety of your family, it is a good idea to do so. Testing the GFCI not only assures the user that the unit is still working but also exercises some moving parts to prevent them from seizing up.

To test: plug something that uses power into the GFCI receptacle and push the test button. The power should go off when the test button is pushed. The light on a wet niche fixture in a swimming pool should go out when the test button is pushed. When the reset button is pushed, power should be restored. If the test button does not interrupt the power, the unit is defective and needs to be replaced.