GFI stands for Ground Fault Interrupter. These outlets are designed to prevent electrical shock by interrupting a circuit. These receptacles are found in areas where water is located such as bathrooms, kitchens, outside areas, and around pools.
Unfortunate events such as dropping a hair dryer in water or radio in a bathtub causing electrocution are what spawned code requirements to include GFIs to be located in the necessary areas. The GFI is designed to trip a breaker at the receptacle or panel to remove the shock hazard, should it detect a difference in the currents.
One of the biggest service calls we get are customers upset they “don’t have any power” to their outlet. If the outlet is located in an area where water may be present check to see if there is a button(s) on the receptacle (as shown above) or at the panel. GFIs have a ‘test’ button which will cause a small difference in the hot and neutral currents therefore tripping the device and ‘testing’ the receptacle. It also has a ‘reset’ button. This button is to reset the receptacle back to normal operation once it has been tripped. Before you call an electrician (who will gladly charge you to press a button) make sure your device isn’t a GFI. Reset and test buttons can be located at the device OR the panel. If you have a device that is in an area of your house where water may be present and it is not GFI protected, your electrical is not to code. Unless you are a DIY kind of person, now would be the time to call an electrician! How about Poss Electric?!