If you take a second to look at the electrical outlets in your bathroom, kitchen, garage or outdoor locations, you might find that they look different from the outlets in the rest of the house.


Why are these outlets different?

These types of electrical outlets are called GFCIs, or ground-fault circuit interrupters. They are placed mainly in areas where electrical devices might come into contact with water. GFCIs are designed to shut off power when they detect a common type of electrical shock hazard called a ground fault.

electric kitchen sink water outlet-917929232.jpg

Take for example, a hairdryer being used over a sink. If the hairdryer comes into contact with water, the GFCI detects the interruption in the current and immediately shuts off power, preventing electrocution.

Electrocution risk from hair dryer near sink

What do the buttons and inscriptions mean?

All GFCIs have “test” and “reset” buttons, and an inscription which says “test monthly”. This means that every month the device should be tested to ensure it is working properly.


How do I test the device?

Follow your manufacturer’s testing instructions. Usually, they are as simple as:
1. Push the test button
2. Listen for a “click” that indicates the unit has tripped and is working correctly
3. Push the “reset” button

Should outdoor outlets be tested differently?

Outdoor GFCIs are more likely to fail because of weather exposure. It’s best to test an outdoor GFCI before each use to make sure it is working properly.


Take a moment today to test the GFCIs in your home and remember to do so monthly to protect yourself and your family.

Images courtesy of The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company.

Related Articles

A home equipment breakdown can cost you thousands. How can insurance help?

Tips to ensure your backup generator works when you need it most

Are extended warranties on home equipment and appliances worth it?

© The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved.

This article is for informational purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment or software. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions. Under no circumstances shall BI&I or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information or images contained in or linked to in this article.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s