The INs and OUTs of GFCI Outlets
The colder weather means you might have to use outdoor tools a bit more than during the hotter part of the year. When you use those tools — one that needs an extension cord, for example — then it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re plugging it into a GFCI outlet.
How do you know which outlets are GFCI outlets? And what’s the difference between those outlets and normal ones? Good questions. Follow along and let the pros at Roman Electric help you understand the ins and outs of GFCI outlets.
Breaking Down the Acronym
A GFCI outlet can seem intimidating if you’re not sure what it is, but there’s no need to worry. All a GFCI outlet does is protect your electronics from things that could harm them — specifically from ground faults and short circuits.
That’s actually what the acronym stands for: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These types of outlets are easily identified by the “RESET” and “TEST” buttons on the plate, which you won’t find in a regular outlet.
What a GFCI Outlet Does
A GFCI outlet functions the same way a regular outlet does, but it has a built-in layer of protection. This outlet constantly monitors the electrical current going in and out of it, and if it notices even the tiniest difference between the power levels, it shuts the circuit down.
That’s where the “RESET” and “TEST” buttons come in handy. Once the GFCI outlet trips itself, it has to be manually reset or else it won’t work. All you’ve got to do is push the “RESET” button, and the outlet will be back in working order.
This way, you’ve got a guaranteed defense against any type of electrical problem that would harm you or your devices far quicker than you’d be able to prevent otherwise. And all it takes is a little upgrade to the outlet!
Where GFCI Outlets Are — Or Should Be
Short circuits and ground faults tend to occur in places where the electrical current finds a quicker way to complete itself than through the usual wires. This happens where water is abundant, so GFCI outlets are usually installed outdoors and near water sources.
Your bathroom, kitchen and any other outlet near a water source in your home should already have GFCI protection capabilities. If they don’t, that’s something you should get checked out and corrected as soon as possible.
All it takes is one accidental spill, and you could have a serious electrical hazard on your hands. Better to be safe than sorry!
Roman Electric: Your GFCI Outlet Experts
As we’ve explained, GFCI outlets are essential to maintaining a proper defense against dangerous electrical problems. They stand guard around the clock to keep you and your family safe, and all homes need them.
Whether you need maintenance on your GFCI outlets or you’ve realized that your home is under-prepared, give us a call at 414-369-3798! Roman Electric offers the most reliable and comprehensive electrical service in Milwaukee, and we’d be glad to help however we can.