Often found in kitchens and bathrooms, along with other areas in your home where the risk of electrical shock is increased due to a power outlet’s proximity to water, a GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupter outlet is the ideal way to protect against the risk of electrical shock. In addition to the increased safety it provides, installing GFCI outlets also will bring your home up to the current standards established by the Canadian Electrical Code.
These special outlets can be easily identified by locating the ‘test’ and ‘reset’ buttons which are right on the front of the outlet. The outlet itself is modified to monitor the electrical current flowing from the receptacle to whatever device you may be using at the time. If there is a sudden surge or imbalance in power caused by any number of issues, the GFCI outlet will immediately stop the flow of power, preventing electrical shock that can potentially lead to serious or fatal injuries.
A GFCI outlet is much more sensitive to power fluctuations that your circuit breakers, meaning you will be a lot safer from harm in the event of a power surge or short circuit. In the event of a surge or other interruption or variance to the flow of power to a GFCI socket, the flow of electricity is stopped within a fraction of a second of the variance, to ensure that there are no chances of even receiving a minor shock. Once the problem with your outlet’s connection is fixed, you can easily rest your GFCI to function normally by pressing the ‘reset’ button on the front of the receptacle until you hear a click. Once reset, the outlet will function normally.
In addition to the ‘reset’ button, GFCIs also are equipped with ‘test’ buttons that are designed to allow a person to verify that the outlet is functioning properly and will continue to protect against electrical shocks. To test your GFCI, simply press the ‘test’ button and plug a small night light or other device into the socket. If the GFCI outlet is functioning properly, there should be no power flowing to the night light or device. Once you confirm this, simply press the ‘reset’ button and the power should continue to flow normally. To be sure that all of your GFCI outlets are continuing to work correctly, you should conduct this test on each outlet at least once a month.
Where to use GFCIs
Since the 1970s, GFCIs have been required in homes in areas where water is close enough to the power outlet to be potentially dangerous. By today’s standards, GFCIs are required in bathrooms and kitchens as well as outside the house around swimming pools and hot tubs, garages and around laundry and utility sinks as well. Although it may seem like you might as well have GFCIs installed everywhere in your home, it is not a good idea to have any major appliances such as a refrigerator plugged into this type of outlet, in case the flow of electricity is stopped without your knowledge.
With the help of Vancouver’s certified electrical experts, you can quickly bring your home or commercial property up to code with the prompt and correct installation of GFCI outlets. At Highmark Electrical, we offer the very best in customer service and workmanship, and are ready to stand by our work with the offer of a 1-year warranty on any equipment we install. To find out how we can help you with your residential and commercial electrical needs, contact us today!