Electricians Winnipeg



Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

What is a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) outlet?

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, or GFCI, outlets are normally found in areas of your home where there is a greater risk for an electrical shock, such as bathrooms, kitchens and garages.

The function of a GFCI outlet is to protect you from electrical dangers by monitoring the flow of electricity in a circuit.  Once an outlet detects an imbalance in the electricy flow, the GFCI stops all power to the outlet.

How do I identify a GFCI outlet?

GFCI outlets incorporate the ‘test’ and ‘reset’ buttons, which are located on the receptacle.

How do I operate a GFCI outlet

When using your GFCI outlet with an appliance and the power cuts out, press the ‘reset’ button to restore power.

In terms of being reliable, GFCI outlets are better at stopping current flow than the circuit breaker, as they are more sensitive to small variations in the electric current.

Actually, they are designed to cut power before any chance of an electric shock has of impacting your heartbeat.

As the entire point of a GFCI outlet is safety, it’s important to test them at least once a month.

How to Test GFCI Outlet Performance

  1. To stop the flow of electricity, press the ‘stop’ button
  2. Plug in a small device or appliance that uses minimal electricity, which will ensure that the electric current is no longer flowing to the receptacle
  3. Press the “reset” button to return power flow to the outlet

If there is power to the device or small appliance, your GFCI outlet is faulty, and you should call a professional Winnipeg electrician to fix it.

ground fault circuit interrupters

Where are some areas I could use a GFCI outlet

GFCI outlets are best located in areas where the risk of electrical shock is increased due to exposure to higher electrical risks, such as water.

  • Laundry and utility sinks
  • Bathrooms/washrooms
  • Garages
  • Spa and pool areas
  • Wet bars
  • Kitchen countertops
  • Crawlspaces and unfinished basements

Are there any limitations to GFCI outlets

Sorry to disappoint you, but yes there are. For example, GFCI outlets should not be used to power freezers or refrigerators as they can generate electromagnetic interference that will cause the GFCI outlets to trip.

There are quite a few brands and models of stoves and ovens that are also not compatible as they require 240 amp outlets. Small devices that heat up, such as hair dryers, irons, toasters, can also cause the GFCI to stop power.

Finally, having too many plugs in an extension cord may also trip the GFCI outlet.

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