Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters: They are a wonderful safety item that has been required around water since the ’70s and according to the CPSC could prevent over two-thirds of the approximately 300 electrocutions still occurring each year in and around the home. Installation of the device could also prevent thousands of burn and electric shock injuries each year.
GFCI’s continually monitor what goes out, through the hot side and what comes back through the neutral side. Power always flows in a loop so these devices can tell when there is leakage, ie. ground fault.
Ground Fault: Is where the loop of electricity, instead of properly running out the hot side (into the thing that’s plugged in) and back in to the wall on the neutral side, gets shorted. In other words the power jumps out of the loop / you might get shocked.
That jump/shock is very likely to happen when you are handling your mixer, weed trimmer, curling iron, etc…. that has an electrical problem (internal loose wire maybe) and you reach for something that can allow a direct flow of electrons to go right in to the ground (faucet, water pipe).
So how and how often should you test my GFCI’s? If you look closely on the GFCI it will say, “Test Monthly.” To properly test you should plug something in that you can see is on, like a lamp. Then press the test button. The buttons should ‘pop’ and the lamp should go off. Then reset the button and the lamp should come back on.
If the test doesn’t happen like that, it may be time to replace your hard working GFCIs.
If that is still to much work I would be happy to come and inspect the function of the GFCI’s in your home.