Homeowner Maintenance Made Easy: GFI Outlets

Where would any new custom Florida home be without its top-notch electrical system, right?

Occasional minor power outages do happen, and we at ICI Homes are here with a monitoring tip that’s a valuable addition to your household checklist.

Your new custom Florida home is equipped with multiple ground fault interrupters in its electrical system. Commonly known as GFIs, they’re designed to protect your electrical circuits.

You’ll also hear them described as ground fault circuit interrupters — GFCIs — but they’re the  same thing. The only difference is which name and initials you prefer to use. We’ll use GFI here.

Ubiquitous in modern electrical systems, GFIs protect against electric shocks. Think of them as the security guards of your electrical outlets. They monitor the flow of electrical current and shut down the outlet in an eye blink if any discrepancy is detected.

Thank you, GFIs!

Read on for another important role that GFIs can perform — alerting you to loss of power.

Power outage monitorsGFI outlet

A summer thundershower that causes your power to blink is an obvious indicator of a power outage, even it comes right back on.

Some causes aren’t as obvious, and if you’re out and about and arrive home afterward, you may not know (A) you had a power outage, or (B) that your power may still be out.

Enter those handy GFIs.

If power is out in a certain part of your home, the GFI outlet lights in that area turn red. You can quickly check your outlets to confirm. If power’s out on the exterior of your home, check your GFI outlet in your garage.

Once the power outage issue has been resolved, press the button on the GFI that controls the electrical flow to those outlets in that part of your home. The button resets the GFI monitor, and its indicator light will blink from red to green. That’s the sign that everything’s functioning again as it should.

As a real-life example, many of us probably used a hot hairdryer for an extended time, and had the outlet that the hairdryer was plugged into, suddenly shut down. That’s usually the GFI at work.

If it’s not the GFI

You’ll have to take a trip to your laundry or utility room, or garage, to check your circuit breaker panel. Most of us likely have had to do this at some point.

A circuit breaker is a larger version of a GFI. There’s usually a circuit for the kitchen, each bathroom, and other areas of your home. When too much current hits an area’s circuit, its breaker “kicks” off.

When you check the panel, you’ll see the labeled switch for that area flipped in the opposite direction of others around it, to a red color. Simply switch it back on!

For more helpful tips, take a look at the rest of our Homeowner Maintenance series.

Ready to find the home of your dreams? Talk with Florida’s Custom Home Builder, ICI Homes.