When Should I Replace My GFCI Outlet?
You should replace your GFCI outlet if it keeps tripping, if it’s damaged or cracked, or if the plugs on your appliances keep falling out of the outlet. Replacing your GFCI outlet is one of the best ways to keep you safe from electrical shocks and protect your home from damage. If your GFCI outlet starts acting up, plan to replace it quickly.
A GFCI outlet can last you between 15 and 25 years when installed and located correctly. Occasionally, GFCI outlets can give out after five years; how often you use your outlet could help determine its life expectancy. Either way, once your GFCI stops working well, it’s important to replace it.
Reasons to Replace
Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether your GFCI outlet needs a replacement, especially since one of the main causes is circuit tripping. Besides knowing how to test and reset your GFCI outlet, there are certain factors to consider.
Once your GFCI outlet trips, you can test and reset it to restore its power. However, if you find yourself testing and resetting motions over and over, that’s an indication your GFCI outlet isn’t working properly. Don’t be shocked if you have to replace an outlet due to continuous circuit trips.
2-Prong and 3-Prong Outlets
If you see both 2-prong and 3-prong outlets, your house may not be grounded. In this case, you should test your 2-prong outlets to ensure they’re working and are grounded. If they’re not working well, you should replace them with 3-prong outlets that can better protect you and your home from shock hazards and electrical fires.
If you have a particularly old home, it may only have 2-prong outlets. In this case, it’s smart to replace all of them with GFCI receptacles that will monitor the electrical current in your outlets and immediately stop the power if they detect an imbalance in the current.
It’s worth replacing your GFCI outlets if they’re visibly damaged. Cracks in your outlet can expose the circuit’s wiring and raise the risk of electrical shocks and hazards.
Your GFCI outlet will begin to wear out as it ages, especially if it’s being used 24/7. Plugging and unplugging appliances and electrical devices can cause the outlet to wear out. So if you notice your devices are struggling to stay plugged in, your GFCI outlet is likely worn out and in immediate need of replacement.
GFCI Gone for Good
When you notice consistent trips and faults, it’s time to pull the plug on your outlets. This is a job you may be able to do yourself, but you may want a helping hand from a pro to ensure everything is done perfectly and you can count on your new outlets for years to come.
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