Water and electricity don’t mix. Pretty obvious, right? But in our everyday lives, we need electricity close to water. We need the outlet by the bathroom sink to run our hair dryer. We need the outlet by the kitchen sink to use our hand mixer. So how do we make sure that these two necessities don’t cause a major safety problem? The answer is GFCI Outlets.

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor. If a shock were to occur, the GFCI outlet would “trip,” cutting off all power to the outlet and preventing electrocution. While GFCI’s are still relatively new, they can be found in almost all homes in places that can potentially get wet- outside, bathrooms, kitchens, or garages.

While these little safety features play a huge role in the overall safety of your home, they do have a lifespan. The circuitry in these devices will eventually wear out, causing it not to function properly. It’s important to test these outlets once a month, or at least once a quarter to make sure they are still in good working condition.

To test your GFCI outlet, plug a lamp into the outlet and turn it on. Then, simply press the button that says “test.” You should hear a click, and the lamp should turn off. Then, press the button that says “reset,” and the lamp should turn on again. It’s simple and takes just a few minutes of your time, but it could potentially save you or your loved ones from a significant electrical shock.