If you’re pursuing a career as an electrician, safety is one of the most important lessons you’ll learn in trade school. A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet is designed to protect against electrocution. Having reduced 81% of electrocutions since 1971, this technology is now required in many areas of a property as dictated by current building codes. Here’s what you should know about it to successfully install one.
How Does a GFCI Outlet Work?
When you plug an appliance into an outlet, electricity runs through wires and switches to safely power the equipment. However, if these components are damaged, electricity can flow outside of the wiring, increasing the risk of electrical shock.
A GFCI outlet is designed to prevent this risk. If the device detects a small change in electrical heat, it will cut off the circuit to prevent power from flowing through. Commonly, the interrupter will be tripped if any wiring is damaged or an appliance touches water.
In addition to preventing injury and death, GFCI outlets can also reduce the risk of electrical fires and protect electronics from permanent damage.
How Do You Install a GFCI Outlet?
To begin, shut off the power to the outlet. Unscrew the cover with a flathead screwdriver and remove it from the outlet box. At this point, the outlet will hang freely but remain attached to the wires.
Take note of the colors of the three connected wires and the screws they’re each attached to. Use a screwdriver to disconnect them from their screws. Attach the new GFCI outlet while making sure to match each wire to its corresponding screw color.
Screw the GFCI outlet to secure it to the outlet box, and install a new outlet cover. A GFCI cover should have “retest” and “test” buttons between the socket.
Restore the power supply, press reset, and test the outlet to make sure it will cut off electricity properly.
Mastering the skills required to replace GFCI outlets is easy when you’re a student at Berk Trade & Business School. Based in Long Island City, NY, this institution is known for its comprehensive training programs that prepare students for successful careers. They’ve been instructing future electricians since 1940. Visit their website to learn more about their programs. For questions about enrollment in their electrician program, call (718) 729-0909.