Home Safety and GFCI Protected Outlets
As a licensed professional home inspector, I test electrical outlets every day during home inspections. Ground fault circuit interrupters or GFCI is an inexpensive electrical device that can either be installed in your electrical system or built into a power cord.
These devices are used to protect you from severe electrical shocks, burns and injuries by detecting ground faults.
A ground fault is an unintentional electrical path between a power source and a
grounded surface. Ground faults most often occur when equipment is damaged
or defective, such that live electrical parts are no longer adequately protected
from unintended contact. If your body provides a path to the ground for this
current, you could be burned, severely shocked or electrocuted.
Areas that GFCI protection should be in or around all wet areas such as:
Pools, hot tubs, and receptacles that are located:
- Kitchens and island cabinets
- Wet bars
- Laundry rooms/utility sinks
- Crawl spaces/basements
Consider using a GFCI protected cord if you are using power equipment outdoors.
GFCI receptacles should be tested often. It takes no special equipment or device to test, just simply push the test button. It should trip, and then push the reset button to power up the outlet. If it does not trip you should have the receptacle replaced.
Many home injuries can be avoided each year by using and testing these devices.
Charles Schiller is a licensed professional home inspector in the Texas TREC #2717 for over twenty years. For additional inspection articles and videos go to: http://www.roundrockhomeinspector.com
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