Have you ever been in the bathroom running a space heater and the lights go out? Pressure washing your house and the plugs in your garage go dead? Probably your GFI.
A ground fault interrupter (GFI), sometimes called a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), is a super sensitive electrical circuit in your home that is connected to any location that has a water source – kitchen, bathrooms, outside plugs, etc.
It’s obviously bad if an electrical plug gets wet, especially if you are holding a hair dryer when it does. The GFI is there to protect you. If it gets even the tiniest power surge, it shuts of the whole circuit immediately.
What does a GFI plug look like?
A GFI plug that has two buttons in the middle of it. One is labeled “TEST” and the other “RESET.” If your GFI cuts the circuit, press the RESET button and the power should come back on.
I don’t see a GFI in my bathroom. Where is it?
If you have more than one bathroom, it is possible to have a GFI plug in one and not the other. That is because both bathrooms are on the same circuit and you should only have one GFI per circuit, not per bathroom. Same for exterior plugs. They are usually all on the same circuit with the GFI receptacle in the garage or on the porch.
I pushed RESET and nothing happened. Now what?
Many houses have a GFI in the breaker box. If your RESET button doesn’t turn the lights back on, try that.
If the circuit doesn’t recharge after that, something is wrong. Call an electrician.
Oh, and if you own an older home without a GFI, get an electrician there now to install one.
Also, here’s a video of me talking about GFIs on TV. 🙂