Ground fault circuit interrupters help protect you from electrical shock hazards. You can find these outlets in most modern homes within 6 feet of a sink. They are often found in your garage, outdoor areas, near your kitchen sink, in your bathroom, in the laundry room, or crawl space. If your home is equipped with GFCI outlets, there are a few things you should know.
Most GFCI outlets will last for about 15 to 25 years, but in certain circumstances, they can fail after 5 years. Here a few common signs that it’s time to replace your electrical outlets.
Does your GFCI outlet keep tripping?
If your GFCI outlet keeps tripping, you can test if its working by pressing the test and reset button on the outlet. With a night light plugged in, press the test button. The light should turn off immediately. Press the reset button, and the light should come back on. If the light does not turn off when you press the test button, your GFCI outlet is not working properly and should be replaced immediately. We suggest testing your outlets at least once a month.
Are there 2-prong and 3-prong outlets in your home?
If you have both 2-prong and 3-prong outlets installed in your home, there is a possibility that your home is not grounded. We suggest testing all of your 2-prong outlets to make sure they are grounded. If the receptacles are not grounded, you should consider replacing them with 3-prong outlets. This will provide optimum safety and protection from shock hazards and electrical fires in the home.
Are there only 2-prong outlets in the home?
If you have an older home and there are only 2-prong outlets installed, we suggest replacing all of them with GFCI receptacles. These outlets will monitor any changes in the electrical current and immediately shut off power if the current travels down an unintended path (ie. water).
Are your outlets damaged or cracked?
If your outlets show any signs of cracks or discoloration, this could be a sign that your outlets need replacing. Any cracks in the outlet will expose the electrical wiring and can pose potential electrical hazards. We suggest replacing any damaged outlets with ground fault circuit interrupters for maximum protection. If you’re interested in an even better form of protection, we suggest replacing them with self-testing GFCI outlets.
Do your plugs keep sliding out of the outlet?
Over a period of time, electrical receptacles will show signs of deterioration. Depending on how often you use an outlet will determine its life expectancy. Loose connections can occur if you are constantly plugging and unplugging appliances and electrical devices. When you notice that your plugs are no longer fitting tightly in the outlet, it would be a good time to replace them.
What issues have you encountered with your electrical outlets? Share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below