Unless you live in an old home without any electrical upgrades, some of the electrical outlets in your kitchen, bathroom and other parts of the house should have test and reset buttons. These buttons are found on all GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets, allowing you to ensure that the outlet is still functioning correctly.
What Are GFCI Outlets?
GFCI outlets are different from standard outlets as they contain an internal circuit breaker that will automatically trigger and shut off the flow of electricity should a ground fault occur. Ground faults are typically caused by water getting into the outlet or encountering its electrical wiring. Building codes require that GFCI outlets be used for all outdoor outlets and any outlet close to a water supply.
A ground fault can be hazardous as it will cause the wires to instantly become extremely hot and create a significant fire risk if electricity continues to flow. GFCI outlets help prevent this as they will trip and shut off the power to the outlet should a ground fault occur.
How to Test a GFCI Outlet
All GFCI outlets should be tested monthly to ensure that the internal breaker is still working and will trip should a ground fault occur. When the GFCI outlet is working, and the breaker is not tripped, you should see a small green light in the top corner of the outlet. To test if the breaker is still working, you first need to push the test button. This will trigger the internal breaker to trip and shut off the power to the outlet.
After pressing the test button, the green light should go out. If the light goes out and the outlet doesn’t have power, you can press the reset button to turn the outlet back on so it is ready for use.
If the light does not go out and the outlet still has power, you will want to have it inspected immediately, which indicates that the GFCI circuit breaker isn’t working. This is not something you want to ignore as a ground fault could lead to a catastrophic fire if the GFCI outlet isn’t working correctly.
Mebane Electrical Services is here to help if you have any issues with a GFCI outlet not working or if you need GFCI outlets installed. We also offer a full selection of other residential electrical services and can help with any repairs, upgrades, or installation services you need. For more information on our electrical services in Mebane, call us today.