GFCI Outlet Installation Services in Tulsa, OK
Not all homeowners know there are different kinds of electrical outlets and that certain specialized outlets are required in different areas for a home to be compliant with building and safety regulations. One such specialized outlet is a GFCI outlet. These outlets are required for use in particular spaces in a house, and the spaces they’re required in have been expanded over the years. Depending on a home’s age, it’s entirely possible that these outlets are not everywhere that they should be.
Mission Electric is happy to provide GFCI outlet installation. Keep reading to learn more about GFCI outlets and their uses.
What Is a GFCI Outlet?
GFCI stands for “ground-fault current interrupter.” Even if you aren’t familiar with what these outlets are called, what they do, or how they work, you’ve almost certainly seen one. Many homeowners have GFCI outlets already in areas like bathrooms and kitchens, and most outlets located on a home’s exterior are GFCI outlets. These outlets are easily identified by the reset and test buttons usually located between the two plug-in points.
Ground fault current interrupters work by shutting off the flow of electricity when a ground fault is detected. Ground faults are electrical inconsistencies that can lead to electrical shocks or worse, electrocution. GFCI outlets monitor the flow of power from the hot to the neutral prongs of a plug and will shut off power if the current is interrupted.
A difference in the current of only 4 or 5 milliamps is enough to trip a GFCI. GFCIs shut off power quickly, within one-thirtieth of a second after detecting a problem with the electrical current. This speed is what makes them a powerful safety tool. It only takes 10 milliamps of electricity to cause muscles in the human body to “freeze,” making it impossible for a person being shocked by a device to let go of it, and someone can die from electrocution after only two seconds of exposure to that level of power.
Where Should GFCI Outlets Be Installed?
GFCI outlets should be located anywhere in the home where electrical devices used have an increased risk of electric shock. These locations include:
- Wet bars
- Utility sinks
- Laundry rooms
- Pools and spas
- Unfinished basements or crawlspaces
Many of these spaces are ones where water or moisture are common. Water can conduct electricity, meaning that loose current introduced to water can spread quickly and present a serious hazard.
Some common small appliances like toasters, hairdryers, and irons, which all get used in rooms that usually have GFCI outlets, have been known to trip GFCI outlets easily because of their heating elements. While this can be inconvenient, resetting a GFCI outlet is easy and fast and well worth the safety offered by these outlets.
Though GFCI outlets should be installed on kitchen counters and near kitchen sinks, not every outlet in the kitchen should be a GFCI outlet. Refrigerators and freezers are not compatible with GFCI outlets, and larger appliances like stoves require higher amperage electrical supplies that GFCI outlets don’t function with.
How Do You Know if a GFCI Outlet Has Tripped?
A device plugged into a GFCI outlet that has detected a ground fault and shut off the flow of power will not turn on. If you plug a device into a GFCI outlet and find that it isn’t working, check to see if there is excessive water present or if the cord on the device shows any visible damage. If not, simply hit the reset button on the GFCI, as that should restore the flow of electricity.
Some GFCI outlets’ reset buttons pop out when the outlet has been tripped, making it easy to tell that the outlet has tripped before plugging anything in. Others have indicator lights that turn red when tripped and green when electricity is flowing normally.
How are GFCI Outlets Maintained?
GFCI outlets will usually last for about 10 years before they need to be replaced, but the shut-off mechanism in a GFCI outlet should be tested at least once a month so you can be sure it’s working properly. To test a GFCI outlet, press the reset buttons and use something like a nightlight or phone charger to check that electrify is flowing through the outlet. Once you’ve determined that electricity is flowing, press the test button. Anything plugged into the outlet should immediately shut off as the electrical flow is stopped. If the flow stops, press the reset button again and power should be restored.
If hitting the test button doesn’t shut off the power or hitting the reset button fails to restore it, the outlet is no longer working as it should and will need to be replaced. Due to the complicated nature of how GFCI outlets work, GFCI outlet installations should always be carried out by a licensed electrician.
Local GFCI Outlet Services
Mission Electric is ready to provide any of your electrician services in Tulsa, OK, including GFCI outlet services. Whether you need new GFCI outlets installed to be compliant with building codes or need to replace an existing outlet that is no longer functioning, feel free to give us a call at (918)-407-1333 or visit us at www.missionelectricok.com.