October 6, 2006, Newsletter Issue #121: GFI

Tip of the Week

That funny outlet is also called a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. It is probably located somewhere close to water; the kitchen sink, the bathroom, outdoors, or the garage.
The outlet is designed to constantly measure the current in the black wire against the current in the white wire. A very small difference between the two wires will cause the outlet to shut off the current very quickly. If you drop the hair dryer into the bathtub, or run over the extension cord with the electric mower, the outlet shuts off.
The buttons are there so you can test the operation of the outlet. Since the outlet is close to water, and has metal moving parts, it is possible that the parts can rust. That is why it is important to test it once a month. Just push the TEST button. The button should pop out and the outlet should shut off. Then push the RESET button to turn the power back on.
If the outlet does not work like it should, you can replace it pretty inexpensively.
Also see the categories Safety, and When Do I Call An Electrician.

About LifeTips

Now one of the top on-line publishers in the world, LifeTips offers tips to millions of monthly visitors. Our mission mission is to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Expert writers earn dough for what they know. And exclusive sponsors in each niche topic help us make-it-all happen.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Home Improvement Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.