Photo by J & J CONSTRUCTION , acquired via Flickr.com

Be Smart, Get GFCIs

Posted April 2nd, 2018 under renovations and repairs.

One of the most important upgrades you can make to your home’s electrical system is to install GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) receptacles. These life-saving devices interrupt the electricity if they detect a difference in the incoming and outgoing current, preventing shocks and electrocution.

Surprisingly, some older homes do not have GFCIs, and are using standard receptacles throughout. Or, even worse, ungrounded (two-prong) receptacles. These older devices are often found in forgotten areas such as basements, or in bedrooms on walls that are hidden behind furniture and never used.

Although you aren’t required by law to upgrade to GFCIs, you definitely should. Any receptacle that is within arm’s reach of a faucet, sink, tub, hot tub, pool, or on the outside of your home should be upgraded to a GFCI.

If you have children, it’s also worthwhile to install tamper-proof receptacles in their play areas, rather than relying on plug-in covers. Tamper-proof receptacles have small shutters inside that only open when a proper plug is inserted, preventing children from probing them with other objects and being shocked.

Remember, safety comes first. I have visited homes where the whole fuse panel was above a hot tub! This type of installation is often a DIY effort with good intentions, but electricity is serious business. Don’t be proud, be safety-conscious. Check your electrical system now: test all switches and receptacles, and upgrade to GFCI receptacles where needed.

Want to know more about getting your home's electrical system up to scratch? Just ask me, I'll be happy to help.

--Peter

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