If a GFCI detects moisture it immediately shuts off power at the circuit, rather than having to travel all the way to the breaker or fuse panel before it cuts out. That way you won’t get a shock if, say, you knock a hair dryer into a sink full of water.
You should have GFCI outlets anywhere that appliances or electronics can come into contact with water, or outside where they’re exposed to moisture. Typically, you’ll use them in bathrooms, kitchens near the sink, and any exterior outlets for lights and outdoor appliances.
As a homeowner, you’re allowed to do minor electrical repairs—such as changing light fixtures or installing GFCI outlets yourself. You don’t have to hire a professional or have your work inspected.
You’ll need to pick up GFCIs for all the at-risk outlets in your cottage or home, and matching plastic outlet covers. Otherwise, this job requires only basic tools—screwdrivers and a pair of pliers.
Before doing any electrical work, cut the power to the fixture you’re working on by removing the relevant fuse or turning the breaker off. If you don’t have a voltage tester you can verify that the power’s off by plugging in a lamp or other electronic device into the outlet and trying to turn it on.
Start by removing the outlet cover. Next, remove the screws holding the old receptacle in place. Gently pull it out of the electrical box so you can access the wires. Loosen off the screws holding the black (live) wire, white (neutral) wire, and green or bare copper ground wire. Note: if the outlet has more than three wires or does not have a ground, you should put everything back in place and call an electrician to take care of this job.
Connect these wires to the GFCI outlet starting with the ground, followed by the neutral, and finally the live wire. Use the screws removed earlier to mount the GFCI into the electrical box and install your new cover. Turn on the power and test that your outlet is working.
To ensure your GFCIs are working properly it’s recommended that you test them monthly. It’s simple to do. Press the “Test” button that’s located between the two receptacles. If a light goes on or the “Reset” button pops out, it’s working. Press “Reset” and you’re ready to use the outlet safely for another month.