What Do “Test” and “Reset” Buttons Do on Outlets?
Your home’s electrical outlets are probably not one of the features that you pay much attention to. However, if you take a closer look at the electrical outlets in your bathroom, you may find a “test” and “reset” button that you didn’t see before.
If you’re like many homeowners, this is probably the first time you realized these buttons exist. These buttons signify that the outlet is a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet.
What Is a GFCI?
GFCIs, or ground fault circuit interrupters, were designed specifically to help protect the outlets from the bathroom environment, which contains a lot of water and moisture. As you know, water and electricity do not mix.
If you drop an electrical device that’s plugged into your outlet into water, like in your bath, it will cause electricity to surge through the water and into the drain pipe. If you happen to be in the water when this happens, bad things are going to happen. Basically, the electricity will cause your heart to go into fatal fibrillation.
A GFCI helps prevent such a deadly disaster from occurring. This is because it checks the flow of electricity out of the device and makes sure that it matches the electricity going in. If the electricity isn’t coming back, then the GFCI will cut the flow of power.
Because of their effectiveness against these situations, GFCI outlets are used anywhere where water might be an issue, including bathroom, kitchen, and outdoor outlets.
What Do the Test and Reset Buttons Do?
The test and reset buttons are there to make sure the GFCI outlet is in working condition. The last thing you want is for something to be wrong with the outlet, which in turn could remove the safety mechanism that can help prevent deadly shocks from occurring should you accidentally get an electronic device wet.
Using these features is incredibly easy. All you have to do to test the function of the GFCI outlet is to push the test button in. If the reset button pushes out as a result, then the GFCI is working as it should. Press the reset button back down, and you are set.
What if It Doesn’t Work?
If the reset button doesn’t pop out when you push the test button in, then there’s an issue. The same can be said if the reset button won’t push back in after it’s popped out. In either case, you’ll want to have a professional electrician come and take a look.
It can be easy to forget about the test and reset buttons, even if you know they are there. You should perform a test on every one of your GFCI outlets at least once a month. One way to remember is to test them out whenever you perform your monthly smoke alarm tests.
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