How Does A GFCI Outlet Work?
Jul 02, · If the lamp stays on, then bad news. You’re going to have to get your GFCI outlet repaired. Don’t go too long without doing this! You never know when you’re going to need it. Oh yeah! We almost forgot, to get electricity back into that outlet, don’t forget to press the reset button. How to Test a GFCI Outlet. Look at the face of a quality GFCI outlet: between the two sets of slots where you plug in cords there are two rectangular buttons, labeled "TEST" and "RESET." To test your GFCI, simply press the test button with your finger. You will hear a snap sound that trips the outlet and cuts off the power to the two plug.
My Tech Reviewer. GFCI outlets are indeed different from your typical outlet and actually serve a pretty unique purpose. We are going to tell you absolutely what is the best off road vehicle ever made you need to know about GFCI outlets.
It stands for Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter. If you really dissect what those words mean, you can probably guess its purpose from it. So, what is its purpose? If you know how a fuse works, this is much different than how a fuse works, although they serve similar purposes.
You can tell these outlets from a non-GFCI outlet because they will have two buttons in the middle, red and black. That is the concept of the hot, neutral, and ground wires. All three of which are present in a GFCI outlet. There are two wires required to complete an electrical circuit — one is called the hot wire and is called the neutral wire.
The hot wire is ungrounded, and the neutral wire is grounded. The neutral line is an essential part of the electrical process working so when the outlet is operating, it is carrying electricity. As you can deduce from the name, the hot wire is the wire that provides a VAC current source.
The neutral wire simply provides the return path for the current provided by the hot wire. The important distinction here also is that this is connected to an Earth ground. The ground wire is also connected to an Earth Ground but has a much different purpose than the neutral wire. It is connected to all the metal parts of an appliance. Just in case either the hot or neutral wire comes into contact with a metal part, that electrical current will flow through the grounding wire and to the Earth which will greatly minimize any shock damage that could occur.
To explain how a GFCI outlet works, let us first explain the three parts of the outlet. Okay, so when you plug in an appliance and everything is working properly, all the electrical current should theoretically be flowing from the hot line to the neutral line. Another way of saying this is that the amount of electricity that leaves needs to be equal to the amount returning.
AKA the amount of electricity going through the hot line needs to be equal to the amount of electricity going through the neutral line. A GFCI outlet is constantly monitoring the flow of this electricity or electrical current. If at any point, it detects some sort of imbalance, it will trip the circuit immediately.
In other words, it will completely cut off all electricity. These outlets are extremely sensitive and have the ability to detect even the smallest changes in the current flow — as tiny as four or five milliamps!
All of this may sound fine and dandy, but you may be asking yourself, well how exactly does this keep me safe? In what scenario would I ever be in where I would need excess electrical current diverted? We think a concrete example is often the best way to solidify a concept. So, let us give you an example.
If for some reason, electricity started to flow from the hot wire to the ground and went through you, you could literally die. Or at the very least be very seriously injured and have some sort of heart attack.
The GFCI thankfully can sense the current that is flowing through you. Technically it senses that there is an imbalance in the current that should be flowing from the hot line to the neutral line. Not all of it is there since now some of that current is flowing to the ground through you. GFCI outlets sound amazing, right? Well, they are, and they honestly save hundreds of lives each year. However, there is one major way that what is a board of visitors can make sure your GFCI is at least working and therefore needs to be replaced, repaired, or rewired.
Test that outlet! Makes sense, huh? Figure out whether or not your GFCI outlet is working by testing it. So, what happens exactly when you press the test button? Or better yet — what should happen when you press the test button? You should lose all electricity from that outlet. How can you tell if you indeed lost electricity in that outlet? If the lamp stays on, then bad news.
Oh yeah! That will put everything how to sell 1 million ebooks to normal and you can continue to safely use that outlet. You can also purchase a GFCI tester if you want to be extremely thorough or are in a professional setting. In general, your GFCI outlet is going to last you for about 10 years. We hope that this article helped explain exactly how GFCI outlets work and everything else there is to know about them! Thanks for reading and whether for research or personal purposes, we hope this article has helped you.
Justin is the head writer for My Tech Reviewer and he ensures that readers always get what they are looking for. He's a hard worker and spends more hours writing for My Tech Reviewer than he works at his part-time electrician job.
But why those rooms? Can you guess why? What is a GFCI? First, we guess we should tell you, what dos GFCI even stand for? Great question. Justin Stuart Justin is the head writer for My Tech Reviewer and he ensures that readers always get what they are looking for.
Hot v. Neutral v. Ground Wire
Attach the “GFCI-protected outlet” label to downstream outlets. Test the downstream outlet by plugging in the GFCI tester and pressing the test button. Note: The lights on the tester should go out. Press the reset button on the GFCI to reenergize the outlet. GFCI outlets are equipped with “Test” and “Reset” buttons on their face. The test button lets you to test the function of the outlet. Pressing the button will stop the flow of power to the outlet. The reset button will restore the flow of electricity to the outlet after a test or if it has been tripped.
Ground-fault circuit-interrupter GFCI outlets are safety devices that help protect you from electrical shock. They typically work reliably for many years, but they can fail and lose their primary safety function. GFCIs also can be wired improperly, disabling the safety feature of the outlet. That's why all GFCI outlets are equipped with buttons for testing their safety function. The test takes just a few seconds and doesn't require shutting off the circuit power.
If a GFCI fails this simple test, replace the outlet as soon as possible. You will hear a snap sound that trips the outlet and cuts off the power to the two plug connections. To confirm that the power is off, plug a lamp or radio into each half of the outlet; the lamp or radio should not turn on. Alternatively, you can check for the presence of voltage with a voltage tester or a multimeter; this test also should indicate no power. Once you've confirmed that the safety function is working properly, press the reset button to restore power to the outlet.
This is a simple electrical device that has three LED lights to indicate various test results. The tester can tell you whether the outlet is wired correctly and can also identify several wiring problems, including open ground, reversed polarity, an open hot or neutral, and a reversed hot and ground.
The tester also has a test button that trips the GFCI to check the safety function; this has the same result as pushing the test button on the outlet face. Electrical safety experts and device manufacturers recommend testing GFCI outlets once a month. This may seem unnecessarily frequent, but the safety function of GFCIs can fail anytime and without notice, so there's often no indication of a problem.
It's best to test them regularly to increase the chance of identifying a problem before a shock hazard takes place. GFCI protection can be provided by circuit breakers in addition to outlets. By contrast, a GFCI outlet may be wired to protect only itself, or it can be wired to protect itself and all other devices that are downstream on the same circuit.
GFCI circuit breakers also should be tested monthly. The test is similar to testing GFCI outlets. You simply open the door on your home's service panel breaker box and press the test button on the GFCI breaker. This should cause the breaker to trip, shutting off all power to the entire circuit. To reset the breaker and restore power to the circuit, flip the breaker handle off, then switch it on. Actively scan device characteristics for identification. Use precise geolocation data.
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