GFCI outlets, or ground fault circuit interrupter outlets, have been included in building codes since 1973 and are an important safety element for both residential and commercial spaces. GFCI outlets function as a fail-safe in order to keep dangerous electrical shocks from occurring but many don’t really know what they are and how they work.

GFCI Outlets Protect Against Electric Shock

GFCI outlets, which are sometimes referred to as just GFI outlets, are a type of electrical outlet designed with a safety device or sensor that trips a small breaker, interrupting the electrical circuit. The sensor is sensitive enough to detect electrical imbalance as low as 4 to 5 milliamps. This results in the power being shut off in the outlet and the power will remain off until the breaker button on the outlet’s faceplate is pushed, resetting the breaker and restoring the electrical circuit. Electrical imbalances can occur due to several reasons but the most common are:

  • Water exposure to the outlet
  • A live wire coming into contact with a ground or neutral wire
  • Electrical overload due to too many electrical appliances being plugged into the same outlet.

GFCI outlets can be identified by a small button with an indicator light in between the two outlet plugs. The indicator light will be red if the electrical breaker has been tripped. If it’s tripped, pushing the button should result in the electricity being restored and the light on the indicator turning green.

Why Are GFCI Outlets Important and Where Should You Use Them?

GFCI outlets add an increased level of safety to your home and are very important to have them installed in strategic areas of your property. Ground fault circuit interrupter outlets are the last line of defense between your family members and potentially dangerous electrical shock. GFCI outlets are required by building codes to be used in areas with potential water exposure, such as bathrooms, near sinks, and outdoor areas that are exposed to the elements. Outdoor GFCI outlets are especially important in avoiding electrical shorts resulting in shocks or electrical fires. It is also highly recommended to install GFCI outlets in areas near the circuit breaker box or anywhere there will be a high demand from outlets.

Do You Need GFCI Outlets Installed In Your Home? We can help.

GFCI outlets are an important safety feature in your home and all outlets with potential water exposure should be switched out with a GFCI outlet to be up to code and to protect against electrical shocks. Contact us HERE for more information about having a licensed electrician installing GFCI outlets in your home today.