Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, or GFCIs, have saved thousands of lives over the last three decades. Found mostly in areas where electrical products might come in contact with water, such as bathrooms, kitchens and outdoors, a GFCI is a special type of outlet designed to cut off power before a deadly electrical shock can occur. For example, when you plug in an appliance like a hairdryer, energy flows from the outlet to the device. A GFCI monitors that amount of electricity. If there’s any leakage or interruption of that current, such as when the hairdryer comes in contact with water, the GFCI cuts power to the device in as quickly as 1/30th of a second, before a deadly shock can occur.
GFCIs should be tested once a month to make sure they’re working properly. Here are a few simply steps to follow:
Push the reset button on the GFCI to prepare for testing.
Plug a nightlight or similar electrical device into the receptacle. The light should turn on.
Push the test button. The nightlight should go off.
Complete the res tby pushing the reset button again. The nightlight should turn on.
If the nightlight does not turn off when the test button is pushed, then the GFCI may be improperly installed or damaged and does not offer shock protection. Contact a licensed electrician to check the GFCI and correct the problem.