May is electrical safety month so we want to give a shout out to one of our favorite electrical safety devices: GFCIs. GFCI outlets, or ground-fault circuit interrupters, can be recognized by the two buttons they have between the receptacles: one that says “TEST” and one that says “RESET.” These outlets are designed to cut power to a circuit if it detects, in as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second, any change in power flow through the circuit, however subtle. GFCIs are generally installed in locations where water might be present, like bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoors. Since water is an excellent electrical conductor, if a person comes into contact with water and electricity, the results could be fatal. Therefore, GFCIs are life-saving devices that prevent against electrical shock.
Also, as these outlets can wear out over time, it’s important to test GFCI outlets regularly to ensure that they are working properly. Push the TEST button, which will cause the RESET button to pop out, making a sharp click sound. Next, press the RESET button. This should restore power to the outlet. If you don’t hear the click, or if the outlet isn’t working, you might have a faulty GFCI outlet. It’s important to make sure to test that these are working periodically so they can continue to keep your family safe.
However, the only way a GFCI outlet can be effective is if it’s actually installed in the locations where it’s most needed. This blog post is to help you check the different areas of your home to make sure any outlet that might come into contact with water is GFCI protected for the safety of your home and its occupants.
From preparing and cooking meals to cleaning dishes and surfaces, the kitchen is a place where hands get wet and appliances are always running. This combination of water and electricity means that GFCI protected outlets are a must in the kitchen. Any outlet that is near the counters and could potentially come into contact with water or wet hands should be a GFCI outlet.
For many of the same reasons as the kitchen, bathrooms are a place where outlets could come into contact with water. And where bathtubs, sinks, and showers reside in a small space with blow dryers, curling and straightening irons, and clippers, GFCI outlets are a must. Not only that, but bathrooms are prone to flooding, either from tubs, showers, or overflowing toilets, and are rooms where wet feet and hands are prevalent.
Laundry rooms should also be equipped with GFCI outlets for many of the same reasons. When heavy machinery and water have to share a room, make sure your outlets are safe!
The garage is another important place to have GFCI outlets installed. Rainwater can seep in, plus many garages have spigots installed. Also, many people operate machinery from the garage. The combination of cords—and extension cords in particular—potentially dragging through puddles in the garage or just outside it mean your outlets should be protected.
What’s more wet and wild than the great outdoors? From rain to sprinklers, and from snow to hoses, your outdoor outlets are exposed to a lot of moisture. The best way to make sure that the combination isn’t deadly is to make sure GFCI outlets have been installed outside and that they’re fully safe and functional.
Pool houses, sheds, greenhouses, gardens, wet bars, and patios are just a few other places where GFCI installation is a must. Just think to yourself: would anyone likely come into contact with water near this outlet? Because a wet person is a highly conductive person, if the answer is yes, install a GFCI to keep you and your family safe.
Prone to flooding and moisture collecting, unfinished basements are another location where GFCI outlets are a must—particularly if you have a sump pump, water heater, or other appliance that works with water operating in your basement.
Author: Amber Smith-Johnson
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Posted: May 2nd, 2018 @ 12:00am by tammy