How Often Should You Test Your GFCI Outlets?

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GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter are electrical outlets normally found in damp areas. You may have seen them in kitchens, bathrooms, around pools, or even outdoors. These outlets, when interrupted, automatically shut off the power leading to the receptacle. An interruption in the electrical flow can be caused by a power outage or surge.

You should test your GFCI outlets monthly. If you are not able to check them monthly, then you should check them quarterly at minimum.

How do I know if my GFCI outlet has stopped working?

The best way to test your GFCI outlet is to press the “Test” button located on the front of the electrical receptacle. In some of the older versions of the outlet, you may notice a red “Test” button and a black “Reset” button. However, the newer models have done away with this design for a more contemporary look.

When you press the “Test” button it should make a clicking sound indicating that the circuit has tripped. This means that there is no more power leading to the electrical outlet.

GFCI Testing Device

Another way to test your outlet is using a GFCI outlet testing device. You just plug it into the device, press the button on the tester, and see if your outlet trips. These devices are good for testing the wiring for both GFCI and standard electrical outlets.

How often should you change your GFCI outlet?

GFCI Outlet Light Indicators

If you press the “Test” button and the circuit does not trip, then replace it as soon as possible. If the circuit does trip, but the “Reset” button won’t reset it, then it’s also time to replace your outlet.

If you are looking to replace your old GFCI outlet, consider purchasing a self-testing GFCI. Self-testing outlets have a green LED light that indicates that they are working properly. No light will indicate that there is no power being sent to the outlet, and the GFCI may be in a tripped state. And a red light indicates that it’s time to replace your GFCI device.

*Please Note*

A malfunctioning GFCI outlet could also indicate that your circuit breaker has tripped, so make sure that you check that power is leading to the outlet first.

Last minute take-aways

  • You should regularly check your GFCI outlets at least every 3 months to ensure that they are working properly.
  • Any building 7-10 years old should have their GFCI outlets tested and replaced.
  • If you press the “Test” button, and the circuit does not trip, replace your GFCI outlet.
  • If the outlet trips, but does not reset when you press the “Reset button,” replace your GFCI outlet

Let’s face it, things don’t last forever! Keep everyone safe, and test your GFCI outlets!

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Recommended Reading

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets, while GFI stands for Ground Fault Interrupter. Many electricians refer to GFCI instead of GFI, but neither word signifies a difference.

See the steps to install a new GFCI receptacle! We recommend contacting an electrician to install your GFCI, but this guide can help you see what steps they need to take to install it.

Shakir Williams
Shakir Williams

A true creative with a penchant for the spiritual and natural order. She loves the Earth, almost as much as she loves writing about it.

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