I have an older home and I am wondering about my GFCI outlets. Do they ever wear our and how can I tell if they are working properly?
Jamie in Prescott Valley
Jamie, GFCI outlets are extremely important in a home and they save many lives across the country every year. The National Electrical Code requires that all kitchens, baths, garages and utility rooms have GFCI outlets installed in these rooms and outside outlets be GFCI protected. These areas of the home are where the majority of tools and/or appliances are being used. If the tool and/or appliance shorts-out the person could receive a deadly electrical shock. GFCI outlets are designed to trip and open the circuit at under 200 milliseconds. If they do not trip in 200 milliseconds then they are not protecting you from shock. An electrical safety inspection of a home should include the testing of all GFCI outlets. We highly recommend that an electrical safety inspection be performed yearly in order to make sure your electrical systems is working and is safe. Electrocution and fire are real threats with non working GFCI outlets. From 1992 to 2001, electrical problems accounted for 407,606 fires and 3,406 deaths and over $7 million dollars in damages to homes. This could have been avoided by regular safety checks and maintenance.