How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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What is the switch on the wall with two pushbuttons?
Thursday, August 9, 2018
It may look like a switch, but it is actually a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) device that provides shock protection for a remote appliance or receptacles, and is called “dead front GFCI” or sometimes “blank face GFCI." We most often see used for protection of a bathroom spa tub pump and they are most often located on the wall next to the main electric panel or in the bathroom that has the spa tub. Because the receptacle for the pump is in a small compartment that is not easily accessed, this device provides a more convenient location to reset the GFCI if it trips.
It is the same device that is in the center of a duplex receptacle in the wet locations of modern homes (kitchen, bathroom, garage, exterior), but without an outlet above and below it. One button is marked “TEST” and can be pushed to verify that the device is still functional, and the other is marked “RESET” for reactivating the circuit after a test-button simulation of a ground fault or an actual ground fault.
Also, see our blog post What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) NOT protect against?
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about AFCI and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS:
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