Understanding GFCI Outlets

The electrical system in each home is complex, with various components that carry out the job of providing the required electricity. Among these components are the GFCI outlets that are installed around the house. 

As the top electricians in Colorado Springs, the team at One Source Home Service has installed and repaired countless outlets. In this article, we will dive into the world of GFCI outlets. We will define what they are and identify some of the most common repairs that require the assistance of an emergency electrician.

What are GFCI Outlets?

GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. Their primary role is to reduce electric shocks resulting from electrocutions. They do this by interrupting a ground fault, an unexpected electrical path coming from a power source that collides with a surface. 

You can easily recognize the GFCI outlets around your home by spotting the red and black reset buttons between the outlets on the wall. These outlets are inexpensive but highly effective at protecting the home and its residents from the hazardous effects of electrocution, which include burns and shock. 

Where Should GFCI Outlets be in the House?

According to the National Electric Code (NEC), GFCI outlets are required to be installed in all areas where there is water, like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.  This is because electricity and water do not mix well together. These GFCI outlets are installed in these areas to reduce the electrical shocks that are bound to happen when electricity and moisture levels mix together. 

GFCI outlets are also required to be installed along the exterior of the home, in garages, crawl spaces, and wet bar sinks. When in doubt, contact one of your local electricians in Colorado Springs, who will be able to help you determine the correct placement of these outlets. 

What Shouldn’t be Plugged Into GFCI Outlets?

We strongly discourage you from plugging in large appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, treadmills, and space heaters into these types of outlets. These appliances are large in size and will trigger the outlets to trip. 

We also caution you against plugging a desktop into a GFCI outlet. If the outlet trips, it will cause a hard shutdown of your computer. This will possibly damage the desktop and cause it to lose some of its memory storage. Check with your local electrician in Colorado Springs for detailed recommendations on how to use your GFCI outlets. 

When to Call an Emergency Electrician About GFCI Outlets? 

There are certain situations in which a GFCI outlet requires attention from an electrician. Below is a brief breakdown of such instances. 

Water Damaged Outlets 

Though GFCI outlets are designed to protect you and your home when the electricity comes into contact with water, they shouldn’t be used after being totally submerged under flooding waters. If, for some reason, your GFCI outlets were exposed to excessive amounts of water, contact an emergency electrician for assistance before using it. 

Sparking Outlets 

If you should ever see sparks coming out of a GFCI outlet, you must have an electrician investigate the cause. Such sparks can be caused by short circuits, water exposure, inadequate repairs, or age. The bottom line is, do not neglect to have your sparking outlets checked out by a certified professional who can repair the problem. 

Burning GFCI Outlets

Although GFCI outlets are intended to protect you from electrocution and burning, these problems will sometimes occur. Most of the time, this will happen if the outlet itself is faulty, low quality, or installed incorrectly. Here are some common reasons for a burned-out GFCI outlet: 

  • An overloaded outlet will lead to an overheated and burned outlet. 
  • When a GFCI outlet that is intended for indoors is used outside
  • Arcing between the outlet and an appliance
  • Loose wiring 

If you notice any of these issues, contact an emergency electrician in Colorado Springs as soon as possible. 

Tripping GFCI Outlets 

When a GFCI outlet trips, the whole outlet will shut down as a form of protection against electrocution and shock. This event normally occurs when there is faulty wiring or when there is a downed circuit outlet. If you aren’t able to reset the outlet yourself, you will need the help of an electrician in your area. 

Top Electricians in Colorado Springs

Are you having trouble with GFCI outlets in your home? The electricians at One Source Home Service are some of the top-rated professionals who will be able to assist you with the needed repairs. Contact us today by calling (719) 427-6642.

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