If you’ve ever looked closely at the many electrical outlets in your home, you have probably noticed that some of them have small black and red, test and reset buttons on the outlet itself, or a nearby wall plate. These buttons play an essential role in protecting you and your home from electrical accidents and related hazards. But,
What Are The Small Red Buttons On Electrical Outlets?
The small red reset buttons on the electrical outlets found in your kitchen or bathroom are a type of circuit breaker called a GFCI switch. GFCI stands for “ground fault circuit interrupter”, and they are designed to protect you from electrical shock and prevent dangerous electrical fires in the case of a power surge or short circuit.
These types of electric abnormalities occur when there is a difference in the electrical current flowing through the various hot and neutral wires of the circuits of your house, and the GFCI plug is specifically designed to detect these fluctuations and automatically cut off power to the outlet immediately when they occur.
The kitchen, with its various sources of moisture and humidity, is far more prone to electrical accidents than virtually every other room in your home. As such, having GFCI switches installed on the electrical outlets in your kitchen provides an extra layer of safety.
So What Are Those Red Buttons On Your Outlets For?
The small red buttons themselves are used to “reset” the GFCI outlet after it has been tripped by an electrical anomaly. If the GFCI outlet detects a power surge or short it pops open and cuts off power to the outlet. When pressed, the red button will enable electricity to run through the circuit once again.
To reset the outlet, you simply press the reset button back in.
But What Happens If A GFCI Switch Won’t Reset?
If a GFCI switch fails to reset, you will not be able to use that outlet until the switch has been repaired or replaced.
This could happen for a variety of reasons, but in all cases, it is best to call a licensed electrician so that they can identify the source of the issue and correct it safely and adequately.
Attempting to fix a GFCI switch without the electrical know-how can be a dangerous task and should be avoided at all times.
Can You Reset An Outlet Without Using The Reset Button?
While you can technically reset the tripped GFCI outlet without using the reset button, taking it apart, and gaining access to the wiring beneath, it is not recommended. The reset button is designed to safely and quickly restore power to the outlet, and bypassing the button removes all safety measures and puts you at risk of electrical shock.
Do All Outlets Have A Reset Button?
Not all outlets have a result button, because not all outlets need one. Generally speaking, GFCI outlets will be installed in areas of the home with an increased risk of power surges and short circuits such as kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor patios, etc.
In other words, any outlet that can come into contact with water or humidity should be installed with a GFCI outlet.
Standard outlets do not need GFCI outlets under normal circumstances.
GFCI outlets are there for your safety and will help to prevent electrical accidents so take them seriously and consult with an electrician if you suspect any issues.