How Can I Check My GFCI Outlet?

Occasionally a customer will ask “How can I check my GFCI Outlet to be sure it is protecting me?”   The question may sound simple but for people who don’t have experience with or knowledge of electricity, it is a good question to ask.

First of all, GFCI stands for “ground fault circuit interrupter”  which means that the outlet contains circuitry to protect people from being shocked.   These are commonly used inside the home in kitchens and bathrooms where electricity and water are both present, as well as outside the home around pools or hot tubs.  This type of outlet provides protection for itself, and all other outlets that are connected to it further downstream on the same circuit.

On the face of the outlet, you’ll see two buttons, TEST and RESET.  In order to test the outlet, plug a small lamp into it and turn the lamp on.   If the light works, then you know you have an electrical current flowing through the outlet.

Now press the TEST (black) button.  You should hear a click or a snap and the lamp should go off.   If that did happen, then you know the outlet is working properly and is protecting you.   Now press the RESET (red) button.   You should hear another click and the lamp should come back on so that you know the current is flowing through the outlet again.   That’s all there is to it – a simple test and it is already built into the outlet.

If you want to test other outlets, Ideal (and other companies) make a three-prong tester that will tell you if the receptacle is wired properly.   It has a button you can push to test the GFCI for proper operation.  These testers are widely available at home and hardware stores.

Remember, if you have questions about anything electrical just contact us and we’ll be glad to help.    We’ve been in the Indianapolis area for over 37 years and we built our business on great service.

Call us – you’ll be glad you did!

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