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Learn the Benefits of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

09/29/15

gfci

One of the biggest hazards of your home electrical system is the possibility of an electric shock. Whether there is an accident during an electrician’s work or there is exposed wiring that could shock someone inadvertently, this is a hazard that can cause serious injury and even death. Fortunately, by installing a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), you can help limit the exposure to shock and minimize the danger. Read on to learn more about GFCIs and how they work.

Limit the Danger of Electrocution

Electricity is always trying to find its way to the ground any way it can. Unfortunately, sometimes the most convenient path is through a human body. That's why if you touch a live wire, the current will likely run through you on its path downward. The consequences of electric shocks can include burns, heart arrhythmia, nervous system damage and death. That's why it's essential to protect yourself from shocks around your home, especially if you are using electrical equipment that is likely to contact water.

Ground fault circuit interrupters work by constantly monitoring the amount of current running through a circuit. The instant that the current level returning from the circuit drops below the level going out – which could indicate that the electricity is escaping to the ground, possibly through a human – the GFCI trips and cuts off the power. The device should kick in in as little as 1/40 of a second, potentially saving  you, your family member or your electrician from electrocution.

Where to Install Your GFCI

There are three types of GFCIs available. One is the receptacle type, usually in the form of electric outlets with small black and red switches built in. You can also purchase portable GFCIs to plug into any outlet, and some electricians actually build the GFCI into the home circuit breaker. Any GFCI should have a test button so you can make sure it is working properly before using it – a well-functioning GFCI should trip as soon as you plug in a malfunctioning tool, saving you from even a minor shock.

Ground fault circuit interrupters aren't ideal for every circumstance – very long circuits, permanent motors and fluorescent lights are all prone to tripping the GFCI even when there is no danger. On the other hand, GFCIs can provide crucial protection in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and other areas where water could compromise a circuit, and are also useful when using power tools around water.

Protect Your Family from Electric Hazards

It's relatively easy to install outlets that have GFCI protection, and it could end up saving your life. If you are interested in installing ground fault circuit interrupters in your house, contact an expert electrician today.



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