Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter’s (GFCI):

According to the National Electrical Code, all 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in in all kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, and garages, or any area in which water may be present, must have GFCI protection.

The idea of GFCI protection is that if there is the slightest electrical imbalance with a circuit, the GFCI will immediately shut off the power. This is a great safety feature, and once you unplug the electrical device that caused the problem, you can press the “Reset” button on the GFCI device to restore power.

When you lose power to a receptacle in a kitchen, bathroom, garage, and outdoor area, check to see if it’s a GFCI receptacle or breaker. If it is, press the “TEST” button, then press the “RESET” button.

Hint: Sometimes, you may have a receptacle that is in a kitchen, bathroom, garage, or outdoor area which has no power which is not a GFCI device. However, even though it looks like a regular receptacle, it can still be “protected” by another GFCI that has tripped off somewhere else. The only way to check for this, is to go into your kitchen, bathroom, garage, electrical panel, and outdoor areas to make sure all the GFCIs outlets or breakers are working properly.

More Technical Data About GFCI’s:

A GFCI receptacle or breaker is an electronic device that can measure slight differences in power as little as 3ma (which is a very small amount). When it detects more power coming in from the “hot” side than going out from the neutral side, it will shut off. This is a good thing because that extra electricity must go somewhere, and that might be to you or your family.

All GFCI receptacles and breakers should be tested monthly. This is done by pressing the “TEST” button. If pressing the “TEST” button does not make the button labeled “RESET” pop out, then call an electrician. If the “RESET” button does pop, the outlet is OK. Press the “RESET” button back in to reset the outlet or breaker.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter’s (AFCI):

The National Electrical Code has gradually increased its requirements for AFCI protection on circuits to include all 120-volt, single-phase, 15 and 20 ampere branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, or similar rooms or areas. All outlets in these areas are required to have AFCI protection in new construction or in remodeling projects.

Normally, circuits receive AFCI protection by means of special AFCI circuit breakers that protect all outlets and devices along the circuit, but where this is not practical, there are also AFCI outlets that can be used.

AFCI protection is not required on existing installations, but where a circuit is extended or updated during remodeling, it must then receive AFCI protection. Thus, an electrician who works on your system is obligated to update the circuit with AFCI protection as part of any work he does on it. In practical terms, it means that virtually all circuit breaker replacements will now be made with AFCI breakers in any jurisdiction that follows the NEC (National Electrical Code).

All AFCI receptacles and breakers should be tested monthly. This is done by pressing the “TEST” button. If pressing the “TEST” button does not make the button labeled “RESET” pop out, then call an electrician. If the “RESET” button does pop, the outlet is OK. Press the “RESET” button back in to reset the outlet or breaker.