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”. 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:

Does a septic pump or sump pump require a GFCI-receptacle?

 • What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?

Are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) really necessary and worth the trouble? 

What is the code requirement for GFCI protection for receptacles near a wet bar sink?

When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required? 

When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required?

Does a washing machine receptacle outlet require GFCI protection?

My spa tub stopped working. What's wrong?  

What happens when you press the "TEST" button on a circuit breaker in an electric panel?

What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home? 

Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?

What is a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter (DFCI)? 

How I can tell if a receptacle outlet is tamper resistant?

What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?  

How is it possible to provide both GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) and CAFCI (Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection for kitchen and laundry circuits?

My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?  

My GFCI reset button is hard to push and won't reset. What's wrong?

• Why do some breakers in my electric panel have a "TEST" button on them?

    Visit our ELECTRICAL page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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