Take a moment to step away from the computer and check out the electrical outlet located next to your bathroom sink -- it's the one that you likely use when you're drying or curling your hair or trimming your beard. Does it look different than a standard wall outlet? Have you ever noticed? Ideally, you should be looking at a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, commonly known as a "GFCI." This specialized outlet is designed to be used around sources of water, including the sink in your bathroom and is detectable due to its pair of buttons in the center. If you don't have an outlet that looks like this, call your local electrical contractor and have him or her visit your home to install one. Otherwise, here's what you need to know about this outlet.
It Can Save Your Life
You might not associate an electrical wall outlet with keeping you safe, but that's exactly what a GFCI outlet does. This specialized outlet is built to quickly shut off the flow of electrical current if the outlet detects the presence of water. This means that if you mistakenly set your curling iron down into a puddle on the sink counter, the outlet will shut off and prevent the current from electrocuting you.
It's Easy To Reset
If you've ever introduced water to an electrical device and shut off the GFCI outlet, it won't continue to supply power until you perform a simple task. All you need to do is press the button labeled "Reset," which is typically found between in the center of the outlet. This will restore the current and you'll be ready to start using your electrical accessory again.
You Should Get Into The Habit Of Testing The Outlet
Above or below the "Reset" button, you'll see a button labeled "Test." This button simulates the outlet coming into contact with water and will quickly shut it off. Make a habit of pressing the "Test" button about once per month -- this will help you feel confident that the outlet is still working correctly to keep you safe. Testing the GFCI will result in the "Reset" button popping out; you'll just need to push it back in to restore the flow of current.
Always Check The Buttons If The Outlet Appears Dead
If you aren't getting any power from your GFCI outlet, don't automatically assume that the outlet is broken. Always press the "Reset" button to see if it restores the power -- there's a chance that someone else in your home tripped the outlet without realizing it -- or, in some cases, an extremely humid environment, such as during a long, hot shower, might have tripped the outlet.
To learn more, contact a company like Sycamore Engineering.