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What happens when you're blow drying your hair in the bathroom and all of a sudden the power goes out in the bathroom and several other rooms in the house? Chances are you just need to reset your GFI switch.

What is a GFI or GFCI (ground fault interrupter or a ground fault circuit interrupter) switch and where do you find it? According to HowStuffWorks.com, "When you look at a normal 120-volt outlet in the United States, there are two vertical slots and then a round hole centered below them. The left slot is slightly larger than the right. The left slot is called 'neutral,' the right slot is called 'hot and the hole below them is called 'ground.' If an appliance is working properly, all electricity that the appliance uses will flow from hot to neutral. A GFCI monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral. If there is any imbalance, it trips the circuit. It is able to sense a mismatch as small as 4 or 5 milliamps, and it can react as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second." (http://home.howstuffworks.com/question117.htm) You should have a GFI/GFCI by any bathroom, kitchen, basements, utility rooms, garages and outdoors. You might have to search for one because chances are it's not in the same room as where the power went out.

Most GFI switches look like this                  

And often the reset button will be red and the test button will be black.  If you have tripped the GFI, locate the GFI switch (remember, it may not be in the same room where the power is out) and simply press the reset button and the circuit should come back on. 

If you've done this and you still have no power locate the fuse box and check to see if any fuses have been tripped. The fuse box is usually located outside on the side of the house.  If you have tripped a fuse, the switch should have moved to a neutral position (so the switch is neither off nor on). In this case, flip the switch to the OFF position, THEN switch it to the ON position.  If it doesn't look like any fuses have moved, turn all the switches to the OFF position, then turn them back ON. If you've done all of these and the fuse is still out, contact us so that we can send an electrician out to look at the fuse.

(Picture courtesy of Dollins Electrical Inc http://dollinselectrical.redberrydesigns.com/announcements/what-is-a-gfci)

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visitors since 5/23/2008
Jay Bergan
Bergan Realty
Ph: 303-694-5116Fax:303-694-5119
7340 E Caley Ave #225
Centennial, CO 80111 US
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