gfciSo let’s say you are outside with your power drill and it is raining. You are standing on the ground, and since the drill is wet there is a path from the hot wire inside the drill through you to ground. If electricity flows from hot to ground through you, it could be fatal. The GFCI can sense the current flowing through you because not all of the current is flowing from hot to neutral as it expects — some of it is flowing through you to ground. As soon as the GFCI senses that, it trips the circuit and cuts off the electricity.

The National Electric Code has included requirements for special outlets where such accidents could happen: pools, garages, kitchens, bathrooms, near spas, and in some other outdoor areas. These special outlets are called “GFIs” or “GFCIs” (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters). A GFI detects that the current in an appliance is no longer flowing in its proper circuit. It shuts off the current within milliseconds.

They usually can be easily identified by the “reset” and “test” buttons located on the front of the receptacle. You may easily test its operation by hitting the “Test” button. This should stop the flow of electricity through the device.  You can then hit the “Reset” button to restore power to the device.