What Do “Test” & “Reset” Buttons Do on Outlets?

test and reset buttons on two GFCI outlets resting on a counter.

Your home’s electrical outlets are probably not one of the features you pay much attention to. However, if you take a closer look at the electrical outlets in your bathroom, you may find a “test” and “reset” button you didn’t see before.

These buttons signify that the outlet is a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet.

What Is a GFCI Outlet?

GFCIs, or ground fault circuit interrupters, were designed specifically to help protect the outlets from the bathroom environment, which contains a lot of water and moisture. As you know, water and electricity do not mix.

If you drop an electrical device that’s plugged into your outlet into water, like in your bathtub, it will cause electricity to surge through the water and into the drain pipe.

If you happen to be in the water when this happens, bad things are going to happen. The electricity will cause your heart to go into fatal fibrillation.

How Do GFCI Outlets Work?

A GFCI helps prevent such a deadly disaster. This is because it checks the flow of electricity out of the device and makes sure it matches the electricity going in. If the electricity isn’t coming back, then the GFCI will cut the flow of power.

Because of their effectiveness against these situations, GFCI outlets are used anywhere water might be an issue, including bathroom, kitchen, and outdoor outlets.

What Do the Test & Reset Buttons on GFCI Outlets Do?

The test and reset buttons are there to make sure the GFCI outlet is in working condition. The last thing you want is for something to be wrong with the outlet.

This could remove the safety mechanism that can help prevent deadly shocks from occurring if you accidentally get an electronic device wet.

How To Use the Test & Reset Buttons

Using the test and reset buttons is incredibly easy. All you have to do to test the function of the GFCI outlet is to push the test button in. If the reset button pushes out as a result, then the GFCI is working as it should. Press the reset button back down, and you’re set.

What if the Buttons Don’t Work?

If the reset button doesn’t pop out when you push the test button in, then there’s an issue. The same can be said if the reset button won’t push back in after it’s popped out. In either case, you’ll want to have a professional electrician take a look.

It can be easy to forget about the test and reset buttons, even if you know they’re there. You should perform a test on every one of your GFCI outlets at least once a month. One way to remember is to test them whenever you perform your monthly smoke alarm tests.

Trust Michael Bonsby for GFCI Outlet Installation in the DMV Area

If your GFCI outlet seems to be malfunctioning, contact Michael Bonsby to schedule an appointment for outlet repair and installation.

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