March 29, 2021

What is a GFCI Outlet and why they are essential for safety

Imagine a world without electric power? Life would be so hard. Electricity is necessary for your daily running of homes and businesses. Power will help you manage most of the problematic tasks making work more accessible. But with electricity comes great hazards. A lot of care is required and safety measures put in place.

To avoid damages arising from electricity-related sources, you need to consider the below:

  • Unplug heat-related items when not in use
  • Check all the electrical plugs. Confirm if they are loose and have them tightened
  • Use electrical cords just as a temporary solution.
  • Use recommended light bulbs and confirmed if they are overheating.
  • Check if the cords are frayed. Avoid putting them in the ground.
  • Do not overload outlets with many appliances plug and adapters.
  • Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) and test them monthly
    GFCI will monitor the circuit flow. And they will interrupt power when they suspect any current change.

What is GFCI Outlet, and Where is One Needed?

Do you want to understand what a GFCI outlet is and where one is needed? GFCI outlets are necessary for your house for safety. They act as a circuit breaker that prevents you from harm in case of danger. When a series of electric shocks arise, they act as a conductor to prevent fire. You need to install a GFCI as a requirement from the National Electrical Code.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a device used to protect us from electric shock where there is a fault. It compares the output current on the neutral and the input current on the hot side. A difference in the current will allows the current to leak out, to an extent, to your body. The device acts to break such current from causing tissue damage. They work so fast in recognizing a fault which makes them super-sensitive.GFCI outlets are needed in wet or moist areas where people live to prevent electric shock-like:

  • Accessory building and garages
  •  Bathrooms
  • In the Kitchens
  • Laundry area
  • Pool areas and spa
  • Unfinished basement and crawl spaces
  • Boathouses
  • Electric dishwashing area
  • Any types of the sink area

Ensure you have a routine in place to check their functionality. Simple wiring problems may create a massive loss if not detected. Before building a house, it is good to ask about the updated outlet points. The outlets are updated regularly through your local building authority.

What is the Difference Between GFI and GFCI?

These two create a debate if they are different. Most people confuse the two to be one thing. But why do we have the two terms, you may wonder. Ground Fault Interrupters (GFI) and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) have a slight difference. The phrase circuit plays a distinguishing factor in the way the two works.
Here is the difference between the two:
GFCI is a breaker panel that protects the whole circuit. It is primarily situated in the electric distribution panel, which covers several outlets. GFI is typically fixed on the outlet part and not on the board. So, the difference comes in where you. have multiple outlets or a single outlet.
When using individual appliances and extension cables, GFI will be of great help. The plug will give protection at the point of use.
GFCI is commonly used than GFI.

What is the purpose of a GFI outlet?

Current leakage is dangerous and causes a lot of death. Electric shock is a significant killer. A circuit breaker is thus essential in managing any unseen power danger. If the wiring is experiencing any current surge, GFI comes in handy. When the wires and receptors overheat, the chances of starting a fire are high. That's why it is good to have a stable power control mechanism.
Where electrical outlets are placed close to water or wet areas, it is essential to have GFCI. Wet grounds create a more significant risk of accidental shock. Once the wires encounter a damp environment, the circuit is interrupted. And it will immediately cut the flow of electricity, leaving you well protected. GFI will detect any electrical fault and act to prevent damages.
GFCI protection is also to be installed at the outlet of the electric panel. Use the test and reset buttons at the distribution panel to make a GFCI circuit breaker. Thus, it prevents all the circuits from flowing.
Also, GFCI will protect you against fires, destruction of wire insulation, and overheating. Generally, it protects you against any form of electrical shock hazard. With its ability to trip fast, there is less harm and damages to items. So, ensure that it is well installed and in good condition.

Are GFCI Outlets Necessary?

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) report has reduced the number of electrocutions by 83% due to GFCI installation. Dealing with electricity is a sensitive matter. You need to ensure the security of people and the hazards involved. Shock arising from electricity is a significant killer in homes. But with GFCI, you reduce the risk of being electrocuted.
These super-fast detectors are required by law to be installed in new homes. Also, as an existing homeowner, you should consider having them.
The primary purpose of GFCI is to Interrupt the circuit. Several types of GFCI are in place, as you can see here below. The three common ones are circuit breaker, receptacle, and portable.
1. GFCI Circuit breaker
You install them at the control panel circuit to protect different circuits. In case of danger, the circuit breaker will shut off. Also, it will trip where there is electrical overload or a short circuit.
2. GFCI Receptacle
Receptacles are used in a single outlet power supply and are typically used in the standard receptacle.
3. Portable GFCI
Portable GFCI is available in several styles and types for easy portability. They offer electrical protection when connected to other power-consuming equipment. Usually plugged to the power outlet where there is no GFCI installed. You can easily connect your power generator, portable electric heaters, industrial washers, and vending machines. They offer protection to work-related hazards and if there is an absence of GFCI.
Again, when a circuit experiences a ground fault, they break the current and stop any damages. They can sense any change of current, even as little as four milliamps electric loss. Whenever there is a loss of current in the neutral and hot wires, GFCI will detect. And this reduces the cases of electric shock.
Therefore, remember to test your GFCI outlet once a month. GFCI tester is available in your nearest electrical or hardware shop. Once you plug it into the outlet, you will be able to read the connections. The wiring problem and the status of your GFI are some of the issues you can detect.
Make sure you contact your experienced electrician where you feel your GFCI is faulty. Note that GFCI is not a fuse and does not help in protecting against overloading and short circuits. Keep yourself safe and your loved safe today by installing a GFCI outlet.
Prevent shock today.

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