Have you ever wondered why bathroom outlets are different from the outlets in your living room? Have you ever noticed the button on the outlet? Have you ever needed to push that button to get power back to the outlet? Or maybe your older home doesn’t have these special outlets yet.
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. A GFCI outlet is an electrical outlet with an extra line of defense to protect from accidental electrocution.
A ground fault occurs when a live electrical wire touches a metal outlet box or a ground wire, and electricity escapes.
“Ground Fault” means that this type of receptacle, or outlet as they are more commonly known, can detect if electrical current escapes from the intended flow.
“Circuit Interrupter” means that this type of electrical outlet will trigger an automatic shutoff switch (or reset switch)within the circuit flow to protect you from any escaping electricity.
When a GFCI outlet detects a difference in the amount of energy passing through and returning back to the device, it immediately removes electricity from the circuit to prevent a hazardous condition.
Let us say it in simple words:
If the electrical system is working properly, then the GFCI reset switch remains "on" or in the open position indefinitely. It is only when the GFCI outlet detects a loss of current (meaning electricity has found an alternate path, say through to your wet hands while using that hairdryer in the bathroom)that the GFCI switches "off" in a matter of milliseconds -- to shutoff the flow of electricity and save your life by preventing you from being electrocuted.
GFI’S are required in the following locations:
When replacing 2 prong receptacles that have no separate ground wire
If your GFCI outlet continues to trip, then you may have a short or a defective GFCI outlet. It is a good idea for you to contact a licensed electrician to address the problem for you.