Facts about GFCI


Pressure washers are devices that are hooked up to a plumbing connection. They pump water under high pressure through a hose, sometimes mixing the water with a cleaning solution. Pressure washers may be used to wash farm equipment, motor vehicles, outdoor power equipment, porches, or houses.

It is important not to defeat a proper ground connection. Consumers should not use "adapter plugs" to connect the three-wire plug to a two-prong household receptacle without properly grounding the adapter plug. Consumers should have three-wire receptacles checked by a competent person to assure that they are properly wired for grounding. Even when the machine is in good mechanical condition and properly grounded, care must be taken to avoid hazardous conditions. For example, power cord connections should never be allowed to lie in water.

For electric pressure washers, without built-in GFCls, the Commission recommends that electrical circuit being used are protected by either a circuit breaker type GFCl or a receptacle type GFCI. If none of the available circuits is protected by a GFCI, portable GFCIs can be purchased at some retail Outlets. Be sure to test the GFCI, before using the pressure washer.

NEVER allow children to operate a pressure washer. Keep children at a safe distance when an adult is using a pressure washer.

The Commission also recommends the following precautions, particularly if no GFCI is available:

  • Always plug a three-wire grounded pressure washer into a properly grounded receptacle.
  • If an extension cord must be used, keep the power cord connection out of any standing water, and use a heavy duty, three-wire, properly grounded type. Keep the connection as far away as possible from the item being washed and away from any water runoff.
  • Wear rubber-soled footwear that provides some insulation when operating the pressure washer.
  • NEVER cut or splice the power cord or extension cords.
  • NEVER remove the grounding prong from the power cord plug!
  • NEVER operate the pressure washer after it has tripped a ground fault interrupter or circuit breaker without first having it examined for electrical faults by a competent repair person.