Time to Replace Your GFCI Outlets?
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) play a vital role in keeping you safe. They turn off the power when your circuits become overloaded. They also block current that has crossed water on its way to the outlet.
A GFCI is an important safety measure and a necessity in any room where you use electrical devices near water. How do you know if your older GFCI outlets are still safe, and do you need to replace them? Here’s what you need to know.
Do GFCI Outlets Wear Out?
Because they block excess power, these outlets regularly handle intense loads of current. For this reason, you should check them every three months to make sure they’re still working. If your home or business is more than 10 years old, check all the outlets. You may have to replace some of them.
A GFCI that trips often may be on the verge of wearing out. If the outlet can’t adjust to currency changes as quickly as it once did, it will start tripping for the wrong reasons or no reasons at all. This is annoying. It’s also dangerous.
How To Check Old GFCI Outlets
You can use a circuit tester that has a GFCI tester. You can buy a good tester at a hardware store or home improvement store. It will be labeled as such and have a separate button for testing grounded circuits. Follow these steps:
- Leave the power on.
- Plug the tester into the outlet.
- Press the GFCI test button.
- If the power goes off, the GFCI is working.
- Press the reset button to turn the power back on.
How To Check the Wiring of Your GFCI
- Turn the circuit breaker off.
- Remove the cover plate, and pull out the GFCI outlet.
- You should see a neutral wire connected to the panel.
- Look for a terminal marked “load” going to the next outlet and a terminal marked “line” going to the live circuit.
- If the connections aren’t correctly lined up, you will have to switch them.
- Do not try to make this switch yourself. Call an electrician.
Should You Replace Regular Outlets with GFCI Outlets?
You don’t need a GFCI on every outlet. A small number will protect your entire house.
The National Electrical Code requires GFCI outlets in all areas where there is a water risk, including kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor areas. GFCI outlets were not widely used until the 1980s, so if you have an older home or business, you may need to add some.
Do You Need New Outlets? Call an Electrician
If your GCI outlets are worn out and not working, call SESCOS. Changing outlets is a dangerous task that is best left to professionals. If you need help with outlets or other electrical issues, call us for fast, friendly service.