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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Andersen

What is a GFI Outlet?

A GFI, more commonly referred to as a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter), is a special type of electrical outlet designed to protect people from electrical shock. Here's a breakdown of how it works:

GFI outlet
GFI outlet

1. Detects Imbalances: The GFCI monitors the electricity flowing in and out of a circuit. If there's even a slight difference (indicating a "ground fault" where electricity is escaping the intended path, possibly through a person), the GFCI springs into action.

2. Quick Response: Upon detecting a ground fault, the GFCI instantly cuts off the power, typically within a fraction of a second. This quick response helps to prevent potentially lethal electric shocks.

3. Safety First: GFCIs are particularly crucial in areas where there's a higher risk of electricity coming into contact with water, such as bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor spaces, and garages. This is because water is an excellent conductor of electricity and can increase the risk of electrical shock if there's a fault in an electrical device or tool.

GFCIs are easily distinguishable from regular outlets. They typically have two buttons: a "TEST" button and a "RESET" button. Periodically pressing the "TEST" button ensures the GFCI is working correctly; if it's functioning, the outlet will trip, and you'll need to press the "RESET" button to restore power.

It's worth noting that while circuit breakers and fuses protect against overloads and short circuits, they don't necessarily protect individuals from getting an electric shock. That's where the GFCI comes in, adding an extra layer of safety against the specific danger of ground faults.

In short, the GFCI is a small device with a monumental task: keeping you safe from electrical shocks in your home!

TIP: If you lose power somewhere in your home, check for a tripped GFI. This will save you the price of a service call!

If you are still having problems, call 208-810-5070 or visit

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