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November 20, 2013

Water and Electricity Don’t Mix.

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is the best way to stay safe when you are using electrical appliances near a water source. Electrical burns, shocks and electrocutions occur when there is an unintentional electrical path between a power source and a grounded surface. For example, your body can create a path for an electrical current to pass from an appliance to the ground. This is also known as a ground fault. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) protect you by shutting off power to the circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning (which indicates a loss of current). The National Electrical Code (NEC) first required home GFCIs in 1971 and they have continued to expand the requirements for GFCIs since then. Currently GFCIs are required to be used in all areas where an outlet is close to a water source, such as kitchens, bathrooms, garages, basements, crawlspaces, and outdoors. GFCIs are generally inexpensive (starting at under $15) and should only be installed by a licensed, qualified electrician.

You should test your GFCIs at least once a month by following these instructions.

  1. Push the RESET button on the GFCI.
  2. Plug a simple nightlight into the GFCI outlet and turn the nightlight on.
  3. Push the TEST button. The nightlight should turn off. *
  4. Push RESET again and the nightlight should turn on.

*If the nightlight doesn’t turn off when the TEST button is pushed then the GFCI is not working properly and you should have an electrician look at it to make sure that you are protected from electrical currents.

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