How To Install A GFI Outlet

How To Install A GFI Outlet

Simple Steps To Installing A New GFI Outlet

By Dave Donahue

Standard GFI Outlet


Almost every home owner will at one time or another attempt to install a new outlet or a GFI.  Sometimes, these devices are installed improperly through haste or lack of experience.  In these cases it is almost certain tragedy will occur.  The result is often death or serious injury.  Did you know that in reality it only takes one amp to kill a person?  That’s not a whole lot of power but unfortunately it has the power to kill your average individual. So, this blog is about how to safely install a new GFI outlet.  I  will focus on replacing a standard outlet with a GFI outlet. As always whenever installing new electrical devices, use necessary precautions before and while installing any electrical device or system.

The first step to properly installing a GFI outlet in your home is to shut off any power that is “feeding” the existing outlet.  This means going to your panel and turning off the breaker that supplies the power to this particular circuit.  After the power has been determined to be off you are ready to disconnect the existing outlet.  You may  want to test the wires with a tester before beginning. This can be done with a standard electrical tester, hot stick or a Wiggy.   Check with your local home improvement store for information on what tester is best to use when installing new outlets.

Disconnect the wires with a standard Phillips screwdriver.  Take off the hot wire which will be either black or red.  After this is completed, disconnect the white or gray wire.  This is the neutral wire.  Finally the ground wire should be disconnected which is your green wire.  Normally this wire will be connected from the outlet to the box with a green “grounding” screw.  Once these wires are all disconnected you are ready to begin the GFI installation.  This is without a doubt when safety comes first.  Always make sure your power source is properly turned off.  On DIY projects as wells as other commercial and residential projects it is not uncommon to “tape off” the breaker which supplies the power to the device being worked on.  Commonly a piece of black electrical tape is paced over the turned off breaker.  In the event someone sees the breaker they should be advised that the breaker is off for a reason.  This is a common practice used by electricians when installing outlets and other devices in a home or commercial setting.

The GFI outlet is different than a standard outlet in the sense that a GFI will have the termination points labeled “line” and load.”  To be clear, line side is the power coming in to the outlet and the load side is the power going out.  So power comes from the panel, this power is line and the feed source is load.  On a GFI you may see the outlet color coded.  Other wise the hot wires will be connected to the brass screws.  The neutral wires will be connected to the silver screws and the ground to green.  The grounding wire should be connected to the junction box with a green grounding screw.   Now that the new outlet is connected to the appropriate wires, you can replace the outlet in the junction box. Support the GFI with the screws provided.

Once these steps have been completed you are now ready to check to see if your new GFI works properly.  Turn the power back only after the install is one hundred percent complete.  Plug in a device such as a hairdryer or a radio. To test the device push the black button on the GFI.  If the appliance being  used shuts off, the GFI is working properly.  If not you may want to consider calling your local Southern Colorado electrical company.  Swartz Electric, the leading Southern Colorado electrical company has trained electricians ready to install your new GFI outlet.

Installing a new GFI is a relatively easy process. However whenever working around electricity, certain hazards exist.  Unfortunately these hazards usually show no outward signs, meaning the hazards may be invisible.  This is why in many cases, finding a qualified electrician may be your best bet to get a new device installed.  DIY projects can be fun.  They can also be a great learning experience.  By following a few rules of thumb, you can get your projects completed safely and effectively.  However, if you are ever in doubt or need assistance with your electrical Do-It-Yourself projects, call Swartz Electric.  They can save you time, money and headaches!

Swartz Electric is Colorado Springs highest rated Electrical Contractor and is licensed and insured to perform electrical work throughout the entire State of Colorado. Please see our website for our licenses, insurance, and links to reviews and testimonials. In addition, Swartz Electric provides a 2 year material warranty and a lifetime workmanship warranty.

Swartz Electric – Your Colorado Springs Electrician performs electrical work throughout Colorado Springs, Monument, Black Forest, Fountain, Falcon, Woodland Park, and everywhere in between. We are the electricians in Colorado Springs to solve your electrical problems and meet your electrical requirements.

Call, e-mail, visit our website, or stop by our office today, and allow Swartz Electric to serve YOU.

This is an original article written by Dave Donahue for Swartz Electric. This article may not be copied whole or in part without the express permission of Swartz Electric, LLC.

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