Tag: outlets

What Are GFCI Outlets?

what are gfci outlets

Outlets are everywhere in your home – and outside of it as well. Without them we’d be dead in the water when it comes to powering our devices and appliances. Although we just assume that outlets will be there at all times, have you ever noticed how some of them look different than others?

Some of the outlets in our home have a little light in the middle of them as well as a button. What’s going on there? Those are what’s known as GFCI outlets, and they can be a literal lifesaver, believe it or not. Follow along right here, and the electrical experts at Weeks Service Company will show you how these outlets can make a big impact in keeping you and your home safe!

What They Are

Regular outlets don’t have any distinguishing features. There’s just the plug, and that’s it. But these GFCI outlets are identifiable thanks to their reset button and indicator light. But why does a GFCI outlet need these things?

It’s because they have a special system inside of them that regular outlets don’t have. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter – this system automatically shuts the outlet down when it detects even the slightest change in the voltage entering and exiting the outlet. When it notices a difference, it cuts the power instantly to prevent a short circuit from occurring.

How small of a difference does it take to kill the outlet’s power? Hardly anything. If the GFCI outlet detects a difference of as little as 5 milliamps, it’s done. This is a miniscule change, but it’s vitally important to catch these potential short circuits before they can cause any damage to you or your home.

Why Do These Outlets Need Special Treatment?

What’s the reason these outlets have a built-in kill switch? Well, have you noticed where these outlets usually are? Most of the time, they’re going to be in places where short circuits could occur more frequently. This is usually around areas where water could be.

That means GFCI outlets are typically installed near sinks and other water appliances. They’re also on the exterior of your home, because water is obviously outside as well. When a circuit comes into contact with water, the voltage finds a quicker route to the ground and throws the circuit out of balance. If you’re touching the water while this happens, you’ll get shocked.

Should You Install GFCI Outlets in Your Home?

Absolutely. Unlike a circuit breaker, a GFCI outlet is self-contained and isn’t reliant on the circuit in your home as a whole. Your home should have these installed in places like bathrooms and the kitchen, and if they aren’t, then it would be smart to do so as soon as possible.


If your home is in desperate need of replacing outlets with GFCI models – or if you just need some GFCI outlets installed in your home, period, get in touch with us at Weeks Service Company! Our electricians can take care of this job in no time at all! Your family will have peace of mind knowing they’re protected from electrical danger.

Give us a call at 346-595-7575 to see how!

Sparking Outlet – Should You Worry About?

should you worry about a sparking outlet

You’ve just unplugged a lamp from an outlet, but something out of the ordinary happened. This time, a little blue spark jumped out from the plug when you removed it from the wall – and now you’re worried. Is your home in trouble? Are you one lamp-removal away from catching something on fire? Should you avoid plugging anything in for the foreseeable future?

Lots of questions! They’re understandable since electricity is so volatile and can present legitimately dangerous problems in the blink of an eye. If your outlet is sparking, though, it might not always be something you need to worry about. To help whittle down the possibilities, here is a quick and easy guide to when a sparking outlet is something you can ignore, and when it’s more serious.

When It’s Not a Problem

Most of the time, if you’re seeing a sparking outlet, it’s nothing to worry about. After all, this is the point at which electricity connects to your device, so when a current is present, it’ll understandably jump from the plug to the outlet sometimes.

This spark, which is blue in color, isn’t anything to worry about if it’s happening every now and then. But if you notice it happening more frequently, then we recommend putting in a call to an electrician you trust.

When It Is

But there are times when sparking is out of the ordinary. If you notice one or more of these indicators, don’t run the risk of causing greater damage – stop using the plug immediately and call a professional.

  • Longer sparking: Normal sparks don’t last very long – they’re gone in the blink of an eye – but sparks that last longer are ones you need to take more seriously.
  • Charred/burned smells: If your nose picks something up that smells like this, then something has melted. This is obviously a sign that something is wrong and should prompt a service call as soon as possible.
  • A strangely colored spark: Like we mentioned earlier, normal sparks are blue. But when you unplug a device, sometimes the color is white, yellow, or something else. This indicates a problem as well.

Why Sparks Occur

Sparking isn’t just limited to one cause. Things like water damage can lead to sparking, as can normally wear and tear that your electrical system undergoes over the years. Or, it could even be because a previous electrician installed wiring or an outlet incorrectly or didn’t repair something the right way.

It’s tough to tell why your outlet is sparking without taking a look at your specific situation. When you’re worried about whether the sparks you’re seeing are something to be concerned about or not, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Weeks Service Company is the League City and Houston-area service provider you can count on. We’ll figure out why your wiring is acting up and work with you to develop a solution that makes sense and will prevent this issue from popping up in the future.

Give us a call at 346-595-7575 to speak to a member of our team today!