Don’t risk fire or electrocution with outdated outlets in your home. Instead, install GFCI receptacles in areas near water in your house. Call Edison Electric, Inc. for installation and replacement services in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN. When you book an appointment with us we provide upfront pricing.
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Why You Need to Replace Your Outlets With GFCI Receptacles
GFCI is the abbreviated term for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These outlets - which are commonly referred to as the outlets with the little test and reset buttons on them - are required in areas of the home where the risk of electrical shock is prevalent, including bathrooms and kitchens.
These outlets first became a code requirement in 1971, and since then, accidental death by electrocution has been cut in half even though electrical usage has more than doubled. Because of their ability to save lives, GFCI requirements have expanded to include your bathroom, kitchen, garage, outdoors, crawl spaces, unfinished areas of your home, and anywhere within 6 feet of water.
To ensure these outlets work correctly, you should test them at least once a month. Simply push the test button on the outlet, listen for a clicking noise, and then push the reset button. Testing is important because not all units function properly. Some may be wired incorrectly, or they could be broken or jammed. If the test fails, call Edison Electric, Inc. to have an electrician inspect the outlet.
Common GFCI Repairs
To keep your house safe, it’s important to ensure your GFCI outlets work properly. Some common issues that can require professional repairs can include:
- Wiring faults: If the outlet isn’t working properly, the issue might not be with the outlet itself, but deeper within your electrical system. Bad or deteriorating wiring can cause fluctuations in the electric current, causing the GFCI outlet to trip.
- Overloaded circuits: GFCI outlets can trip if there are too many devices plugged into them. To test if this is the issue, unplug everything from the outlet, reset it, then try to use it again with just one device. If it works properly, then it was overloaded. If it still doesn’t work, then you need to call an electrician.
- Faulty electronic devices: It’s possible the issue might not be with the outlet, but instead with the device plugged into it. Plug a different device into the outlet and see if that one works. If it functions properly, then the issue is with the device and not the outlet.
- Faulty GFCI outlets: If the outlet is more than 10 years old, it can start to show signs of aging and should be inspected to determine if it needs to be replaced.
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Grounded vs. Ungrounded Outlets
To make sure you have the right outlets installed throughout your home, it’s important to know the difference between ungrounded and grounded electrical outlets. The easiest way to tell is by looking to see if the outlet has two holes instead of three. If it only has two prongs, then it is ungrounded. These are more prevalent in homes built before 1960. Most newer homes have three-prong outlets.