GFI, also known as GFCI, stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and can save your life since this type of outlet protects against electrical shock. GFI Outlets are designed to protect electrical items as well as people by turning the power off before a shock can occur.
GFI outlets in commercial settings are usually found in a pantry, bathroom, medical offices with sinks or anywhere within six feet of a water source.
Many tenants confuse a tripped GFI receptacle breaker with having too much load on the circuit. This is incorrect. Too much load on the circuit would cause the breaker in the electrical panel to trip. If the electrical panel circuit breaker is on but the GFI breaker continually trips, then the outlet is working as designed which suggests there’s a problem with the appliance that’s plugged into it. Another possibility is a faulty GFI circuit.
The GFI has a sensor inside that detects changes in current to the appliance that is connected to it by comparing the current flow to the appliance and the current flow from the appliance. If there is a potentially dangerous drop off in the current, then the GFI turns off all power by tripping a relay within it in less than one second.
The GFI outlet has a test button and a reset button. If the outlet is working correctly, you can press the test button and the outlet will be shut down until you press the reset button. The test button should be tested monthly to insure it is working correctly.
If a GFI turns off your appliance then you will need to unplug it, press the reset button and everything should be back to normal. If a problem persists or you think something may be wrong, try plugging a different appliance into the receptacle. If you still have the same results, then make sure to contact the building engineer or a licensed electrician.