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Circuits, Wiring and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

Guelph Hydro recommends that you do not attempt to do any electrical wiring in your home yourself; instead, hire qualified electricians to ensure new outlets and wiring are up to code. To find a qualified electrician, please visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.

About Circuit Breakers and Fuses

Fuses and circuit breakers are used to protect your home against overloads of electrical energy.

Ensure your circuit breakers and fuses are the correct size for the circuit. Never replace a fuse with anything but the correct size fuse. If you don't know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the sizes to be used. To find a qualified electrician, please visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.

It's important to know how to care for and replace fuses and how to reset circuit breakers in your home in case of an electrical power outage.

  • Familiarize yourself with the location of your circuit breakers and fuses. They're usually in a metal box on an outside wall near the electric meter.
  • Label your circuit breakers and fuses so that you know which one protects which circuit in your home.

Circuit Breakers

Know how to reset your circuit breakers. You'll need to reset your circuit breakers after one or more of them have been switched off. Turn off the lights or appliances you were using and check the circuit breaker panel to find any breakers that have been switched off.

  • To reset a circuit breaker, switch it off and then on again. If the switch is a push button, it will pop out to turn off the circuit. Pushing it all the way in will reset it.
  • If the breaker trips again when you turn on the lights or appliances you were using, you may be overloading the circuit. Move an appliance to a different circuit by plugging it into another outlet.
  • If you still have no electricity after you've reset your circuit breakers, try turning off the main breaker switch and all your circuit breaker switches. Then turn on the main breaker switch and reset each circuit breaker switch.

If the problem persists, contact a qualified electrician to have your wiring inspected. To find a qualified electrician, please visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

A ground fault is a short circuit that occurs when a live electrical wire touches a ground wire or metal outlet box. If a wire is not protected by a circuit breaker, a fuse, or a ground fault interrupter, electric shock can occur. A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI or GFI) is any device that automatically breaks an electrical connection that may cause damage to a home and, more importantly, prevents people or animals from receiving an electric shock.

Because water is highly conductive, use a GFCI in homes and commercial buildings where electricity and water are found near each other, namely in kitchens and bathrooms. A GFCI will cut the flow of electricity if a ground fault occurs, preventing injury while cooking or cleaning with water or water-based materials in these areas.

The most common kind of GFCI receptacle looks like a standard wall outlet, but has "Test" and "Reset" buttons. Some GFCI outlets also have an indicator, which can be green, red or amber. It indicates either that current is flowing or that the breaker has tripped and shut off the flow of current. Installing a GFCI is a common do-it-yourself project, but Guelph Hydro recommends you hire a certified electrician to ensure the work is done properly and safely. To find a qualified electrician, please visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.

Testing a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)

Guelph Hydro recommends that you test your GFCI monthly. First plug a "night light" or lamp into the GFCI-protected wall outlet (the light should be turned on), then press the "TEST" button on the GFCI. If the GFCI is working properly, the light should go out. If not, have the GFCI repaired or replaced. Reset the GFCI to restore power.

If the "RESET" button pops out but the light does not go out, the GFCI has not been properly wired and does not offer shock protection at that wall outlet. Contact a qualified electrician to correct any wiring errors. To find a qualified electrician, please visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.

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