What You Should Know About Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)

  • What they are: A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is an overcurrent protection device designed to interrupt the electricity circuit to the load when a current to ground exceeds a predetermined value. GFCIs are designed to almost instantly sense an electrical ground fault and interrupt the protected circuit to stop the flow of electrical current before someone is hurt.
  • In Ontario GFCIs are required for exterior outlets, bathroom outlets, and in new kitchen construction/renovation where receptacles/outlets are being installed within 1.5 meters of the edge of any sink (wash basins complete with drain pipe), bathtubs or shower stalls.
  • GFCIs should be tested monthly to ensure that they are in proper operating condition. To test your GFCI you should:
  1. push the “reset” button on the GFCI.
  2. plug in a light or small appliance (turn on).
  3. push the “test” button – the light or small appliance should turn off.
  4. push the “reset” button – the light or small appliance should turn on.

If your GFCI does not function as outlined above you should contact a licensed electrical contractor or electrician to check and fix the GFCI.

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