What are GFCI outlets and why are they so important?

Whether you live in your forever home or are in the market for a new house, you should inspect the home for GFCI outlets. Rooms that commonly have sinks, like the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and basement, should have these. Without them, you could be putting yourself and your home at risk.

Westland Electric in Calgary shares more:

What does a GFCI outlet do?

GFCI outlets, or ground fault circuit interrupter outlets, are there to help keep you safe. You may have noticed that the outlet next to the kitchen or bathroom sink is different than the others. It will have a little test and reset button on it.

A GFCI outlet will shut off an electrical power circuit when it detects that a current is flowing along an unintended path. That path might through water, which is why it’s commonly beside sinks and other areas that might get wet. Worse, that path might be running through a person. GFCI outlets offer an extra layer of safety to protect from electrical shock, electrical fires, and burns.

If the GFCI outlet trips, stopping the current from traveling down that unintended path, you can reset it by pushing the little reset button on the outlet. You’ll know it has tripped because you’ll lose power to that receptacle, and the little red light on the outlet will go on. If it keeps tripping, it means there is a bigger problem and it will keep cutting off the current until it is fixed. This is when you need to call in a professional electrician like Westland Electric.

GFCI outlets are required by electrical code

If you live in an older home or are looking at an older home for sale, it might not have GFCI outlets. While they are now required by Canada’s electrical code, they have not always been. All outlets within 1.5 metres of a sink, tub, or shower must have one.

If there is already a GFCI outlet next to the sink, you don’t need to replace all the outlets in close proximity. The GFCI outlet closest to the sink will break the circuit before it can travel down the line. That means you only need to have one GFCI outlet on the receptacle that is nearest to the sink.

You should also have GFCI outlets installed on receptacles that are near metal or concrete surfaces that might be exposed to water. Take a look in your garage, basement, or near exterior outlets to see if you need to upgrade to GFCI. If you have a hot tub or a pool, any receptacles nearby should have a GFCI outlet.

Always hire an electrician to do the job

If you need to upgrade outlets to GFCI outlets, hire a professional electrician to do the job. You are not legally required to opt for the upgrade if you already own an older home. However, for the safety of your home and family, it is highly recommended. DIY electrical work can be dangerous, and if not done properly, can create a fire hazard in the home.

Electricians in Calgary

Westland Electric is a growing electrical company that offers residential, commercial, and industrial electrical services to Calgary and surrounding areas. They are committed to quality work, safety, and customer service. Whether you need an electrician for a major home renovation, new home build, home repairs, or for a few upgrades around the house – they can help.

Contact Westland Electric today!


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