When it comes to your home’s electricity, there are two main safety concerns to consider—fire hazards and electrocution risk. Both of these issues arise from the current in your electrical system traveling in ways it is not supposed to. This is often the result of a short circuit, which diverts the electrical current into either flammable material or into a person that has come in contact with the current. The best way to prevent against this, however, is by hiring a professional Andover electrician to install the right outlets in the right areas of your home. For the purpose of today’s blog post, we’re going to focus specifically on the GFCI outlet. But, let’s say you already have this type of outlet, and it just stopped working—what do you do next?
First, What Is a GFCI Outlet?
To better understand how to troubleshoot a GFCI outlet, it’s first important to understand what it is and how it works. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. This outlet monitors the level of electricity flowing through it at any given moment, such as when there are appliances plugged into it. If the balance of the electrical current flowing through the outlet is thrown off, like when a short circuit happens, then the outlet will cut off the flow of electricity ASAP. GFCI outlets are designed to do this within 1/30th of a second after the interruption occurs, to cut off the flow of electricity before any serious electrical shock can be delivered. You’ll find GFCI outlets in any area that has a high chance of water infiltration—so bathrooms, laundry rooms, and if you have outdoor outlets, there too.
When Your GFCI Outlet Won’t Work
When your GFCI outlet won’t work, it actually means that it DID work. When it cuts off the flow of electricity, it needs to be reset in order to turn that flow of electricity back on. There is a reset button on the outlet itself. Go ahead and press this button and then plug in an appliance. To make sure that your GFCI outlets always work as they’re supposed to, you’ll want to test them at least once a month. You can do so by following the steps above, and after plugging in the appliance, turn it on and hit the “test” button on the outlet. This should automatically turn the appliance off, since the electrical flow will be blocked. If this occurs, your outlet is, in fact, working as it should. Hit the reset button again, and check it again next month. If hitting the test button doesn’t shut off the appliance, you could have a serious problem on your hands. In the case that the test or reset fails, and your GFCI outlet isn’t working, be sure to call in a professional electrician so that we can safely and thoroughly inspect your electrical system. This is the only way to ensure that your home is as safe as possible when it comes to your electricity.
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