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Deans Home Services | Minnesota's Premier Home Services Company

What’s a GFCI Outlet and What Does It Do?

Maybe you’ve heard someone mention a GFI outlet but then you hear someone else mention a GFCI outlet, is there a difference?  One of the most common misconceptions in the electrical world is the difference between a GFCI and a GFI outlet. There is no significant difference at all, a typical GFI outlet is the first in a string of outlets, and is the one used to provide GFCI protection to the circuit.  GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter and when you hear an electrician say GFI or GFCI outlet, it’s the exact same thing.

GFCI Outlet

How Does a GFCI Actually Work?  

A GFCI is basically a safeguard for your home, the outlet is constantly monitoring electrical current and if the amount is ever to change even the smallest amount, in a blink of an eye, the GFCI will stop power to that outlet. (Preventing a fire or worse)

Most often, when a GFCI “trips” it is the result of a faulty appliance plugged into the outlet or an outlet down circuit. Before calling a Dean’s Home Service electrician to diagnose the issue, you may want to try this simple home diagnosis.

  1. Unplug all appliances plugged into or down circuit from the GFCI

2. Reset your GFCI by pushing the button in the center of the outlet and then plug the appliances back into the GFCI one at a time and turn them on to see if any of the appliances are causing the appliance to “trip”.

3. If you plug in your coffee maker and the GFCI immediately trips, it is likely you have a faulty appliance and the GFCI is operating as designed.

If you live in an older home in Minneapolis or St. Paul, having your electrical wiring checked out is really important because while older homes are not required to have GFCI outlets unless the wiring is being updated, it’s a good idea to install them anyway. Dean’s Home Service electricians are experts when it comes to home wiring and will be able to quickly diagnose, update and upgrade your home’s electrical.

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