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SME Inc of Seattle offers our customers a broad and deep range of electrical services across commercial and industrial industries and residential properties. From tenant improvement, new build or renovations to assembly lines, healthcare facilities or multi- or single-family residences, the team at SME Inc provides experienced engineers and licensed electricians who have the skill and expertise to design, install and complete any project.

Residential Electrical Services

Circuit Breaker

GFI or GFCI Ground Fault (Circuit) Interrupters

When it comes to home electrical outlets a common question is what is a GFI or GFCI? A ground fault interrupter or a ground fault circuit interrupter is the same thing. By sensing the slightest difference in current (between 4–5 milliamps), from hot to neutral the circuit will trip or be turned off. GFIs protect against fires, overheating, ground–faults and deteriorated wire insulation.

In the 1970s the GFCI became a part of the electrical code as a protection against electrocution in areas that deal with water. Between 1970 and 1995, GFIs reduced the number of accidental electrocutions by 50 percent with a 100 percent increase in total electrical use during this same time.

GFCIs, while attributed to saving lives, do have to be checked on a regular basis. GFIs can be damaged by electrical surges and lightening. After a storm and once a month, test all of your GFCI outlets for proper operation. If you find that a GFCI is not working properly, call SME Inc of Seattle to replace your GFI outlet. Because the GFI outlet is located near water sources like the kitchen, bath, and utility sink as well as spas and pools, your family's safety is at risk with a faulty GFCI outlet.

How to Test a GFI or GFCI:

  1. Locate all GFCI receptacles. Look in your kitchen, bathrooms and utility sinks/laundry rooms. If you have a spa or a pool, check for a dedicated circuit breaker box for a TEST/RESET button.
    note: This test done on a circuit breaker box will disconnect all lights and appliances to wired to this circuit. If you don't know what is attached to a breaker box GFCI, call a licensed electrician.
  2. For each GFCI receptacle push the RESET button to make sure the GFCI is set to normal functioning.
  3. Plug a small device like a lamp or razor into the GFI outlet and turn the device to on.
  4. Press the TEST button on the GFI outlet. The device should turn off.
  5. Press the RESET GFI button once again and the device should turn on.

If the device you plugged into the GFCI does not turn off when you press the TEST button (#4) your GFCI is faulty and will need to be rewired or replaced. Call SME Inc of Seattle to replace any faulty GFCI.

Homes built before the early 1970s may not have any or inadequate GFCI outlets for today's code requirements. It is best to have a licensed, certified electrician inspect your home for GFCI safety. Being able to examine your home's current electrical wiring, our professional electricians will be able to give you a fair and competitive price for adding GFCI receptacles to your home.

GFIs or GFCIs work to protect you and your family from unintentional electrocution. Make sure your GFCI receptacles are in operating order. If you need a GFI outlet replaced or installed please call SME Inc of Seattle. We want you home to be a safe environment for you and your family. We also provide 24/7 emergency services.