GFI Outlets (Ground Fault Interrupters)
In order to be compliant with the National Electrical Code, any outlets in areas in which water is used must contain GFI outlets rather than normal electrical receptacles. This type of outlet is used near water for safety reasons.
GFI outlets closely monitor the electrical wires that they are connected to and will shut off power to the outlet if there is any electrical problem at all. This highly increases the safety of these outlets.
If you ever lose electricity when you are in your bathroom, outdoors, kitchen or garage, check first to see if it is a GFI receptacle. If so, it will have a “TEST” button and a “RESET” button. First push the “TEST” button, then push “RESET”. If you have a GFI outlet that is constantly shutting off, try plugging a different appliance into it to see if that is the issue. If the problem lies within the outlet, you will need to call a qualified electrician.
Tip: Although the outlet that you have lost power to in your bathroom, kitchen, garage or outdoors may not be a GFI, it may be protected by a nearby GFI that has tripped off. Check all of the GFI outlets in the area to see of any are tripped to see if this will restore power to your affected outlet.
Technical GFI Data
GFI Outlets (often called GFI Receptacles) can identify differences in electrical power as small as 3ma. If more power is detected coming from the hot side than is leaving from the neutral side, it will immediately shut itself off. While this may be annoying, the electricity coming in must go out either through the neutral end or somewhere else. This feature protects you from this excess electricity.
You should test your GFI outlets each month. It is easy to do by pressing the “TEST” button. If this does not cause the “RESET” button to pop out, you should call an electrician. If your “RESET” button pops out, your outlet is working normally. To reset the outlet, just push the reset button back in.