top of page

How to easily and safely check your outlets.

The pictured tester is inexpensive and easy to use, a friend or neighbor may even have one you could borrow. There are many brands that all pretty much work the same, just make sure it has the GFCI test button because some do not have that feature. It simply plugs in and the lights indicate whether the wiring was done correctly or not. If any are found incorrectly installed then you may have an unsafe condition that could be easily fixed. You can perform this test on every receptacle regardless of it's location. While you do this test you will know if each receptacle is properly secured and has a cover plate in good condition.

Receptacles located near water sources or at the exterior could be a shock hazard! Pressing the button on the tester should trip the GFCI if it is appropriately protected to prevent shock. Checking the outlets within 6' of any source of water is a good rule of thumb. Obviously sinks, showers, tubs, etc... but also in the garage, laundry room, all exterior outlets, and the attic too. There are more locations that require protection by code, but these are the basic 110 outlets that you can look for.

Where is the GFCI at? It might be in the form of a special breaker within the panel and all the outlets on that circuit would be protected. If you have pushed the button of the tester and no longer have power at the plug, the circuit breaker switch will be in the center position - "tripped". You would need to turn the breaker to the off position before it will turn back on.

Some receptacles have GFCI built into them, these would have their own protection and can protect other receptacles down the line. You will see the "test & reset" buttons on these outlet.

One of my tasks as a home inspector is checking for GFCI protected outlets in the appropriate areas and confirming they were wired correctly. I have found may different unsafe conditions that can easily be remedied by rearranging a few wires or relocating receptacles. If you find any of these conditions, be sure to have them repaired by someone qualified for the job!

4 views0 comments
bottom of page