On occasion, the components that deliver ground fault circuit (GFCI) protection in GFCI outlets can be damaged. If this happens, the device may no longer be able to properly protect you and your family from the dangers of shock or electrocution. The important thing is actually knowing when protection is lost.
Outlets containing GFCI technology are required by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to offer more complete protection and to let you know if this protection has been compromised. In compliance with this, Leviton SmartlockPro® GFCI Outlets and Dual Function AFCI/GFCI Outlets are engineered to not only clearly notify you if protection is compromised but also to prevent the device from being reset in this condition; helping to protect your safety.
How will you be notified? All GFCI outlets are required by UL to either:
1) Deny power with the inability to reset
2) Give a visual or audible indication, or
3) Trip with reset ability, subject to the next test cycle or repeat tripping
A question often asked is if GFCI circuit breakers offer the same protection. The best answer is that they are not required by UL to offer this added layer of protection. Therefore, you may still be able to reset the circuit breaker and unknowingly NOT be protected from ground fault shock or electrocution.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi), more than 30,000 non-fatal shock accidents occur each year. Those are just the incidents that are documented; the actual number may be higher. Isn’t that 30,000 good reasons to make sure your GFCI is functioning properly – and letting you know when it isn’t?