What is a GFCI Receptacle, the funny little plug with the buttons??

GFCI receptacles, the funny plug with the buttons on it


So what exactly is that strange receptacle in my kitchen with the buttons on it and why do I need it? That’s a questions that comes up on a fairly regular basis and with this I hope to answer some of these questions.

A GFCI receptacle, or ground fault circuit interrupter is a receptacle designed to help prevent people from getting injured due to electrical current that could possibly travel through your body from faulty electrical equipment. Did you know that less than 0.1 amps of current traveling through your body could be fatal? A GFCI is designed to stop this dangerous situation in less than a tenth of a second. They are designed to sense as low as 4 milliamps of current keeping the user safe from harm.
Electricity leaving a receptacle flows from the “hot” side of the receptacle to the device being used then back through the “neutral” side of the receptacle. The amount of current between the two sides should remain balanced at all times. If current gets out of balance it is because it is going somewhere else, maybe YOU!! The GFCI is designed to sense this imbalance and shut the power off protecting the user.
GFCI protection is required in kitchens, bathrooms, near sinks, outdoors, garages, and basements. Anywhere there is a chance of water being near electricity there should be ground fault protection. There is 2 ways of providing this protection in your home or business and that is through a ground fault receptacle or breaker. Either device can protect a single point or a whole circuit. Receptacles other than GFCI’s should be labeled if they are GFCI protected so the end user will know. These device should be tested monthly by pushing the test button to ensure they trip. They can also be tested using a receptacle tester that has a GFCI test button on it.
If you have any questions about your GFCI’s in your home or business or have a faulty one that needs to be replaced don’t hesitate to call a professional licensed electrician near you. HB Electric Solutions can be reached at 253-256-7861, or by email at info@hbelectricsolutions.com