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Are you trippin? Test my GFCI breakers?

GFCI breakers and devices have been around for quite awhile--since the early 1970’s.  This one you see pictured here was installed in 1979 and provided GFCI protection to all of the bathroom receptacles and the receptacles at the exterior of the home.  It still tripped with the test button and shut off the power to all of the protected locations—just like it should.  If you have ever looked at the installation instructions that come with just about any GFCI device it recommends hitting that test button once a month.

GFCI BreakerNow I want a show of hands as to how many of you “actually” do that? 

I know that I do not.  I might do it once a year, but even that is only likely at the ones I walk by on a daily basis.

I also want a show of hands as to how many of you “actually” know the proper protocol for testing a GFCI device?

The only “recognized” test is to hit the test button.  However, that may not provide enough information, so it is important to have something (like a light) plugged into the receptacle so that you can actually tell that power has been shut down to the location with the test light.  This is especially true of some older GFCI type receptacles where the test buttons would trip, receptacles downstream of the device would be de-energized but the receptacle portion of the device itself would stay energized.  The newer devices are not allowed to do this and are integrated so that it cannot happen.

This problem is not associated with GFCI type breakers—only GFCI type receptacles.

The next $64,000.00 question, is how many check the little box on the sticker posted at the panel that keeps track of all the times that you test the GFCI breaker?

“What sticker,” you ask?

“You know—the one required to be posted on the panel that comes in the box with the GFCI breaker,” I answer. 


(You will only see these stickers at the panel if there are GFCI Breakers in the panel.  Most houses have nothing but "point of use" GFCI receptacles throughout the home--not in the panels.  AFCI type breakers will also come with these test reminder sheets.)

If you do not have such a sticker it does not surprise me, as they often were not installed.  I find them occasionally and typically they look like the one pictured here.

 

The sticker is pretty much a waste of paper, ink and sticky stuff as near as I can tell.  In all of 35 years NO ONE has apparently needed a reminder to test the device at all!

I wonder if any shortening of the device’s life would have occurred had it been tested the recommended 420+ times?  For all I know, since the home was a one owner home, I may have been the only person to test the device in 35 years.

While apparently someone thinks these stickers (they still come with the devices) are convenient, handy and possibly even required, they do not seem to serve any real purpose as near as I can tell.  It is a perfect example of how you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Are you “trippin?”

 

Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Seattle Home Inspector

 

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Comment balloon 79 commentsCharles Buell • February 13 2014 06:37AM

Comments

OMG I dont know this and I am going to go see if I have a sticker

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) almost 6 years ago

Kristin, I probably should have made it clearer that you will only see these stickers at the panel if there are GFCI Breakers in the panel.  Most houses have nothing but "point of use" GFCI receptacles throughout the home--not in the panels.  AFCI type breakers will also come with these test reminder sheets.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Hi Charles - The fact that my sticker is missing conveniently lets me avoid the evidence that I don't test my breakers - although even if I did, I really doubt I'd fill in the sticker. But your advice is good - I will mend my ways, at least as far as testing.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) almost 6 years ago

Charles, can we have a show of hands how many inspectors know what is in your post?

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) almost 6 years ago

I check the ones in the bathroom and kitchen  from time to time, but I never use the outside ones.....

Every plug in my kitchen is a GFCI. I don't mean they are on a GFCI circuit...each one is its own GFCI!

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) almost 6 years ago

Charles - I have to admit that I haven't ever even seen one of those stickers until I read your post. I also didn't know that we were supposed to test this stuff once a month. I have reset ours many times, but never gone out of my way to test them.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Yes we check regularly, we are paranoid about this becuase of our dogs and we travel quite a bit. Funny how we care so much about dogs and don't think about ourselves.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) almost 6 years ago

Not doing mushrooms, the magic kind. Thanks for the shocking new on circuit breakers. No fuses for penny insertion for me. I want to avoid waking up dead.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) almost 6 years ago

Charles, my GFCI breaker is in the power panel and there is no sticker. The garage has a separate GFCI outlet.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 6 years ago

guilty as charged.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) almost 6 years ago

Interesting.  I rarely test mine out.  Thanks for the reminder.  I'm sure very few people ever do this. 

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Charles, I guess I'm one of those who didn't raise their hand. Time to check it out...and thanks.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) almost 6 years ago

Charles - my house was built in 1988 and I have one.  I don't think I have ever hit the test button and I don't have a chart.  So I learned something today.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) almost 6 years ago
LOL, Great Post, as a retired electrical contractor, I had all my guys to be sure to label all the outlets on the GFCI circuits so the home owner would know which breaker to reset. I tried very hard, but the size of the homes we worked on were usually over five to ten thousand feet, but I liked to install at the added expense breakers instead of inline outlets. I made sure we always put the test information in the panel along with the label provided. When the GFI requirement became code, we had so many call backs due to people not understanding the operation of the gfi, plugs located outside, bathrooms being over loaded on a fifteen amp circuit with hard dryers, Weather proof outlet covers missing or open for the rain to get in etc. Today most home owners are knowledgeable when they have no power to reset the GFI breaker, but just like any other breaker most don't know in order to reset the breaker you need to turn the breaker completely off and then on, and when it trips, that is usually when we get the call. And when checking the breaker in the panel we will find the instructions gone and a blank chart still stuck to the panel. Bottom line, I don't test mine either, I have a very large home and has both breakers and inline breakers, and I usually find out around the holidays or when I go out to the outdoor kitchen the breaker has tripped and or the inline outlet has gone bad..... one of my pet peeves
Posted by Rod Pierson almost 6 years ago

We have been having internet issues, and just removed all my cookies, and didn't realize I was not logged in when I posted the above post:

LOL, Great Post, as a retired electrical contractor, I had all my guys to be sure to label all the outlets on the GFCI circuits so the home owner would know which breaker to reset. I tried very hard, but the size of the homes we worked on were usually over five to ten thousand feet, but I liked to install at the added expense breakers instead of inline outlets. I made sure we always put the test information in the panel along with the label provided. When the GFI requirement became code, we had so many call backs due to people not understanding the operation of the gfi, plugs located outside, bathrooms being over loaded on a fifteen amp circuit with hard dryers, Weather proof outlet covers missing or open for the rain to get in etc. Today most home owners are knowledgeable when they have no power to reset the GFI breaker, but just like any other breaker most don't know in order to reset the breaker you need to turn the breaker completely off and then on, and when it trips, that is usually when we get the call. And when checking the breaker in the panel we will find the instructions gone and a blank chart still stuck to the panel. Bottom line, I don't test mine either, I have a very large home and has both breakers and inline breakers, and I usually find out around the holidays or when I go out to the outdoor kitchen the breaker has tripped and or the inline outlet has gone bad..... one of my pet peeves - See more at: http://activerain.com/blogsview/4326596/are-you-trippin-test-my-gfci-breakers-#sthash.6MyS8qvQ.dpuf

Posted by Rod Pierson, Northern California (Results Real Estate Inc) almost 6 years ago

Falls into the category of 'But, we've always done it this way!"

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 6 years ago

There are so many things that homeowners are supposed to test or check on a regular basis, but never do.  When I am showing a home that has a radon pump and my clients freak out about it, I explain that it's actually better that it's there.  I tell them that after they have the radon test with their inspection, they'll never do another one (even though they are supposed to do it every year).  And since the levels change all the time, it's better to have something in place that will alway remediate any issues should they arise, rather than never know if there's a problem in the future.

Posted by Tg Glazer - The Right Realtor® for the Right Results!, Westfield/Cranford, NJ area (Coldwell Banker, Westfield, NJ) almost 6 years ago

Hi Charles, I know where the GFCI outlets are and how to reset them but I've never heard about testing them on a regular basis. Learn something new every day. Thanks.

Posted by Debbie Malone, From Lynchburg To The Lake (434) 546-0369 (Londeree's Real Estate & Property Management) almost 6 years ago

Every month I run to the basement and test it then fill out the paper LOL. Never would I do it

Posted by Charles Stallions Real Estate Services, Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc) almost 6 years ago

And similiar to not seeing one of those stickers in forever, I've not seen SPAM comments #18 in a long time either.  Love the title of your article Charlie!

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 6 years ago

Never has seen one of the test logs. Have seen the switches many times. At my house they only time they are tested is when they trip. Guess I need to modify my habits.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) almost 6 years ago

Thanks for this informative post. I have NEVER seen a test reminder grid in any house I have shown.  It must be a very big secret.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 6 years ago
You can't be too safe in that respect and I respect the blog for going that route. Love and light, Laura
Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) almost 6 years ago

I have never seen one of those test logs either. I think it is important to test the circuit breakers and flip them back and forth to make sure they are not sticking.

Posted by Rosie Moore (Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City) almost 6 years ago

Dick, I don't think I have ever seen a sticker filled out

Pamela, lets hope they all do :)

Than, I see that sometimes--almost never necessary to do them all

Jason, houses are too complicated to remember and know all this stuff--at least that is the way it seems.  I know I don't check the oil in my car very often either

Joe, how do your dogs come into play in all this?

Andrew, that is a good thing to avoid whenever possible :)

Michael, not only do they never get filled out---they pretty rarely get stuck on the panel and just get thrown away.

Alan, me too :)

Rob, I don't know anyone that tests them the recommended amount

Tom, I don't see many hands going up :)

Grant, time to test them for sure

Rod, yes, all these instructions as to how to test etc. goes out with every report---people just don't know what they don't know.

Rod, that is OK---making the point twice is just fine :)

Karen, or in this case "not done it this way" :)

Tg, the radon thing is a complicated business :)

Debbie, the instructions say once a month--fat chance in my household :)

Joyce, I hear you

Carla, I know, I saw one on Kerries post about the meetups the other day and that one and mine are the first ones I have seen in quite a while---have not missed them either

Bill, it does really make one wonder what the truth of it all is

Joan, but you may not open the panel cover of every house maybe?  But like I said it is rare to see them and even more rare to see one filled out

Laura, thanks

Rosie, another little known fact to the general public is that the handle does not have to move at all for the breaker to "function" when overloaded.  Maybe I should do a post about that :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

You may very well have been history's one tester for that system! 

My wife checks ours regularly in the kitchen when she runs the microwave and infrared oven at the same time...  Yes, she's been told the tripping would happen when she does that.  She "forgets..."

But, a test is a test!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

I must admit the only test I have ever run on mine was when the it tripped in teh garage and I pressed reset.  I guess that was a test since it cut off the power. Nice information and great reminder.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Never have I seen a sticker checked, or had anyone tell me they would even think about testing each month. All those trees made into stickers for nothing.

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) almost 6 years ago

I'm certain most of us in the AR community got a valuable and useful education about GFCI's I know I did, so thanks for the lesson. 

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) almost 6 years ago

 

Hello. Charles:

 

 

I used to think I knew a lot about home construction and maintenance.   Your post has demonstrated I know less an less about more and more

Posted by Brian Rugg, Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est (Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700) almost 6 years ago

I did it for fun one time....This is one of those things that get NO attention until its not working

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 6 years ago

Hi Charles,

Test anything by the home owner? You have to be kidding right. They are lucky to have the furnace filter replace once a year.

Have a good day in Seattle.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 6 years ago

Most home owners don't do the installation and most likely don't even know about this recommendation... I know I never heard of it nor have I ever seen the handy reminder.  More people would test them if they knew about it.  Perhaps builders or installers need to come up with a standard on where to put the reminder for the eventual homeowner(s).

Posted by Jay Benson, Putting Today's Technology to work for You! (Richard Doyle Real Estate) almost 6 years ago

I deal a lot with older houses and have never seen this sticker, probably because most of the houses only have GFI's in the kitchen and bath.

Posted by Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS (Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate) almost 6 years ago

This is by far the best title I've ever read on a blog post.  Well done!                               

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) almost 6 years ago

Charles, while I was reading your post I decided to test one of mine, just so I can say that I did.  It really is a good idea to test them before you have a problem. Thanks for the re

Posted by Don Taber, REALTOR / BROKER / CRS / GRI (Our Town Properties, Inc., Wilson, NC) almost 6 years ago

Charles, I would imagine of the thousands GFI breakers and receptacles that we've installed since the 70s, not a dozen have been tested is we weren't the ones testing them. I've found a lot of bad ones that were locked hot.

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 6 years ago
I have checked it in the past but not on a regular basis.
Posted by Robert Brown almost 6 years ago

GFCI receptable failure is one of the most common problems reported on home inspections. Testing? Most likely never.....

Posted by Jeanne Dufort, Madison and Lake Oconee GA (Coldwell Banker Lake Country) almost 6 years ago

Good article - Thanks for the information.

Posted by Jane & Jeff Daley, PhD, Scottsdale Real Estate Arizona (Luxury Valley Homes Scottsdale) almost 6 years ago

Great information Charles, thanks

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) almost 6 years ago

It's just one of those hidden maintenance things that we don't worry about until we have to worry about it.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) almost 6 years ago

Hi Charles... I with the group that has never ever seen one of these... I'll have to go check this out later... thanks for the info 

Posted by Beth and Richard Witt, Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940 (Long Island Cash Home Buyer) almost 6 years ago

I have seen GFI's currently on the market that purportedly test themselves.  Inevitable someone would come up with that idea, wasn't it? 

Posted by Roger Watland (Roger T. Watland Associates) almost 6 years ago

Well well - my new trivia knowledge for the day. Thanks for the info and tip!

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846 (iXL Real Estate-Wiregrasss\) almost 6 years ago

Most people don't check the batteries in their smoke detectors on a regular basis!

Posted by Marilyn Holda-Fleck, Personal service for each and every Customer (Coldwell Banker Residential Broker) almost 6 years ago

great information. As a long time manager of many properties, I am always amazed at the number of people who do not know how to test or reset these breakers.

Thank you.

Brian

Posted by Brian DeYoung, Brian DeYoung ( Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 6 years ago

Being a fairly accomplished DIYer, and having been involved in many aspects of building and remodeling. Having wired and rewired entire homes and never failing a codes inspection I consider myself well versed.  I have never seen this particular reminder sticker before now.  I also don't depend on the trip switch (on the breaker or the recepticle). I always double test the GFCI by using a GFCI Recpticle Test Plug.  I first test the "trip" on the recepticle or breaker and check for confirmation on the Recepticle Test Plug, then I reverse test by tripping the GFCI by using the trip button on the Plug. For $15 its a great double check.

I have also been known to confirm my home inspectors findings using one.  They have missed more than one defective recepicle in their inspections.

Posted by Bill Morrow, Bill Morrow, Associate Broker (Keller Williams of Central PA) almost 6 years ago

Thanks for the information. I just checked my breaker panel and found that there is, and never was, said sticker displayed. 

Posted by Dennis J. Zisa & Associates, Inc., 29 years in So. Jersey and the Greater Camden area (Dennis J. Zisa & Associates, Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Fun post!  I'll bet you have a great sense of humor. 

Posted by Victoria CB Trees, Principal Broker (Victoria CB Trees Real Estate Services) almost 6 years ago

Always nice to learn something new.  I'm guessing the only time most GFCI are tested is when buyers have the home inspected.

Posted by Brian Clinger, Brian Clinger ABR, GRI, CRS, SRES (Coldwell Banker AJS Schmidt) almost 6 years ago

Your mention about using a light to verify that the power is actually turned off is a good one.  I recently tested the receptacles on the kitchen counter during one of my inspections.  When I tripped the GFCI receptacle with the test button, the receptacle still had power indicating that it was miswired.  I mentioned it to the homeowner and he told me that a relative who was an electrician had installed it a few weeks before.  Even electricians sometimes don't pay attention to connecting them correctly.

Posted by Robert Sole (REM Inspections LLC) almost 6 years ago

I admit, we don't test our receptacles, but now we'll have to do that!  

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) almost 6 years ago

Many of our products include impractical instructions (such as your GFI test sheet) with a primary purpose of acting as a defense in a product liability lawsuit.  I can hear it now..."did you test the product monthly as instructed?"

Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (eXp Realty) almost 6 years ago

You have made the assumption that GFCI's have been installed. 40 years ago they were not a requirement and few houses have made the "switch". Parden the pun.

Posted by David Spencer, Show Me real estate in Kansas City (Keller Williams Northland) almost 6 years ago

I'm sure you're right about testing them, that most never are. I have never plugged something in when testing them myself and I have never seen a home inspector do that either. Something to keep in mind.

Posted by Steven Murray, Broker, SRES® IRES SRS Toronto Real Estate Board, Your Durham Region Real Estate Broker (Right At Home Realty Inc. Brokerage) almost 6 years ago
We don't test ours either.The hart was helpful but if you decide the first Friday of the month or every Friday is for testing the outlets or feeding your plants or what ever it becomes simple.
Posted by Vicki Temple almost 6 years ago

Interesting Charles. I don't remember the last time I checked my breaker!  But thanks for the reminder and pics to do so!  Appreciated!

Posted by Jack O'Neal (HomeSmart Elite Group) almost 6 years ago

I have never seen that sheet. I test my GFCI's by thromwing the lamp in the tub. Just kidding. Get out and test your GFCI, Smoke Detectors, and TPR valve today.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) almost 6 years ago

I do once in a blue moon see those stickers on a panel. I have even seen writing on them. That might be like seeing Sasquatch 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Charles, why oh why did you pull this stunt on unsuspecting blog readers?  Yeah, sure, check your GFCI by pushing the test button, ha ha.  April fools on Valentines Day!   I get it.  What Charles is setting at home laughing about, is that a certain percentage of GFCI receptacles that are tested will never re-set.  You push the test button and that's it, the receptacle is dead, never to be of use again.  That receptacle and any receptacle feed through that receptacle will be without power until you replace the dead GFCI receptacle.  The older the receptacle the greater the likely hood of death-by-testing.  Charles is completely correct though, the manufacturer recommends that the device be tested by tripping once per month.  So it's really good advice, it will just be a little annoying, aggravating or humorous for the unsuspecting. 

Posted by Paul A. Perry, Home Inspector - Crossville & Cookeville, TN (Certified Inspections, PC - Residential & Commercial Property Inspections ) almost 6 years ago

Like Rob, I have never seen one of those sheets.  

NJ inspectors are required to test every one we can access.

Posted by Rafi Footerman, Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More! (Mid Jersey Inspections) almost 6 years ago

Carolyn, typically you are only going to see this sticker in the panel for GFCI breakers installed in the panel itself---not when they are elsewhere around the home.

Amanda and Jared, thanks---titles are the most fun part :)

Don, you are welcome

Mike, like I said you can take a horse to water but..... :)

Robert, and you have to wonder just how necessary it is to do it EVERY month.

Jeanne, yes, we certainly find lots of defective ones.

Jane and Jeff, thanks

Ron, thanks---you are welcome

Suzanne, the problem with this safety item is that it can often still "function" but not as intended.

Richard & Beth, rememeber though, they are likely only going to be present if the GFCI breaker is in the panel

Roger, I have not heard of this---but I suppose anything is possible :)

Travis, it is always useful to collect trivia I guess :)

Marilyn, they sure don't and many don't even have batteries :)

Brian, yes I get calls from people occasionally complainging about them not working when all they have to do is push the reset button :)

Bill, and the modern receptacles are designed to only function together.  Older types were not required for the receptacle and the GFCI component to be interconnected in such a way that if the receptacle failed the whole device would fail.  Also keep in mind that these stickers will only be in the panel if the GFCI breaker is in the panel.

Dennis, and do you have GFCI breakers in the panel?

Victoria, some say so :)

Brian C, I would say that is a pretty safe bet :)

Robert, I have found that the majority of the GFCI receptacles that I have found that behaved that way were actually defective---not mis-wired.

Kat, always something isn't there? :)

Richard, how painfully true---called creative CYA

David, well I am obviously only talking about where they have been installed :)

Steven, all home inspectors should be doing this, and in Washington State Home Inspectors are required to recommend that GFCI protection be installed wherever "currently required"

Vicki, yes---set schedules can be helpful---especially if you can gunnysack it with something else like testing smoke detectors---who ever test them either? :)

Jack, you are welcome

Rob, actually when I am teaching I have a little demonstration I do with a hair dryer in a bucket of water for my students.  It just motors around in the bucket and never trips the GFCI  (and yes the GFCI is functional)  It is more of a demonstration to show that not all water is conductive (tap water)

Jim, I am thinking Sasquatch is much more likely :)

Paul, and if it indeed does fail under test then that is good information :)

Rafi, as are we here in WA

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Wow, 20 years of going to and watching inspectors, and I've never noticed one of those stickers.  At least, it wasn't pointed out.  I definately didn't raise my hand, but I will start watching a little closer when the inspector takes off the electric panel cover!

Posted by Woody Edwards, A Realtor® Who Answers His Phone! (First Choice Realty, Inc) almost 6 years ago

Charlie, Ya just trying to push our buttons ;) I never see the sticker installed in the panel.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

I was laughing when I read this because the answer all the way around is zero. Never even saw one of those test sheets in any home that I've sold.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 6 years ago

Woody, they are usually located on the inside of the cover that covers the breakers

Don, they are pretty rare

Lyn, and that was kind of the point of the post---I kind of knew the reaction would be like this :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Great advise and like most American's it will probably slip my mind and I will not follow it.  But I never even knew this before, so it is a step in the right direction.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 6 years ago

Thanks for bringing us up to speed.

Posted by David Demangos, REALTOR (Keller Williams Realty Carmel Valley / Del Mar) almost 6 years ago

Gene, yes now that the cat is out of the bag it will be harder to get it back in :)

David, you are welcome

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Charles, I could not find 'Test' breaker on the breaker box in my basement Which was installed in 1996.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) almost 6 years ago

As you expected, probably barely any of us test our GFCI's.  I had no idea I was supposed to test them, let alone monthly. Thanks for this information!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) almost 6 years ago

Mary, GFCI breakers is only one way to provide GFCI protection in the home and is not very common.  Most of this protection, especially in homes of your time period, was provided at individual receptacles where needed throughout the home.

Jan, I doubt that even the people that designed these things test them every month :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago
Good post, and so true! I will inform people from here going forward. Few will probably do it!
Posted by Charles Sutton almost 6 years ago

Gene, A lot of money has been made from handy men resetting tripped outlets that are stuck out in the garage or some other place a home owner would never think of looking.

Posted by Mark Artesani, Huntington & Newport Beach, Fountain Valley Homes (Keller Williams Realty) almost 6 years ago

Charles, I think we are all in that boat---even most electricians I am sure

Mark, I get asked it on occasion myself but I can usually tell them where to reset it from the phone

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Charles-Your titles are awesome.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) almost 6 years ago

Wayne, thanks---they are the fun part for sure

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

 

Breakers should have timers. Yeah! That’s the ticket! After a predetermined period of time, the breaker would “break” and interrupt the circuit. The homeowner would be forced to test the breaker on a regular basis.

Posted by John Juarez, ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN (The Medford Real Estate Team) almost 6 years ago

Participate