Did you know that two-thirds of approximately 300 electrocutions that happen each year could be avoided if a GFCI device was properly installed?
The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or GFCI and Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter or AFCI are two very different electrical devices that serve distinct purposes. A GFCI is designed to prevent electrical shock and is typically in damp and outdoor locations. The AFCI is designed to prevent fires and is usually on bedroom circuits.
When GFCI and AFCI protection is used together, your home is afforded the most modern level of electrical shock and fire protection. More details on GFCI are provided below. If you have any questions or would like GFCI outlet protection installed in your home, please contact Barney’s Electric at 972-771-9464.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter – GFCI’s:
Outdoor receptacles as well as those in the kitchen, bathroom, and anywhere else near water should be the ground fault circuit interrupting type (GFCI). A “GFCI” is a ground fault circuit interrupter. A GFCI is a moderately priced electrical device that, when installed in residential electrical circuits, will prevent unfortunate and unnecessary electrical shock accidents.
By detecting and interrupting ground faults, the GFCI is designed to guard people and pets from severe and sometimes fatal electrical shock. For example, if a hair dryer (blow dryer) that is accidentally knocked off of a bathroom counter and into a bathtub filled with water, the GFCI will stop the flow of electricity within milliseconds of the hair dryer hitting the surface of the water. If someone was in the bath tub, a painful shock may still be felt but the GFCI will prevent electrocution or serious injury.
So, you are probably asking yourself, “How does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Work?”
The answer is actually quite simply and can be found below.
The GFCI continually measures electricity flowing within a circuit to detect any loss of current. If the current passing through the circuit fluctuates even a small amount from that returning, the GFCI instantly switches the power off of the affected circuit. The GFCI interrupts power within milliseconds to prevent a lethal dose of electricity.
Here is a second example of a GFCI at work. Your toaster is old and has a loose bare wire inside touching the outer metal housing. If the toaster is plugged in, the housing is charged with electricity. You are cleaning the kitchen and moving counter top items around. When you touch the toaster housing with one hand while the other hand is touching a grounded metal object, like a kitchen faucet, you will receive a life threatening shock! If the toaster was plugged into a GFCI protected outlet, the power would have been turned off before a fatal shock was delivered through your body.
There are many types of GFCI’s. Below we have provided a summary of each one.
Types of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters:
Receptacle GFCI – This GFCI is used in place of a regular wall outlet. .This GFCI is normally found throughout the house in places like bathrooms, kitchens, garages, outdoor areas and other locations where damp conditions do or could exist. The receptacle GFCI fits into the standard outlet box and protects you against ground faults when an electrical product is connected to the GFCI protected outlet. Most homes use receptacle-type GFCI’s that protect other electrical outlets connected on the branch circuit. For example, you may experience a bathroom outlet upstairs that is not working because something tripped the GFCI in the downstairs bathroom.
Temporary/Portable GFCI – When permanent GFCI’s are not practical, temporary GFCIs are used. Temporary GFCI’s contain the GFCI circuitry in an enclosure with plug prongs in the back and receptacle plugs in the front. It can be plugged into an unprotected outlet, then, the electrical appliance/device is plugged into the temporary GFCI. Portable GFCI’s are simply an extension cord combined with a GFCI. Temporary/ Portable GFCI’s provide flexibility in using receptacles that are not protected by GFCI’s. Extension cords with GFCI protection incorporated are great for use when permanent or portable GFCI protection is unavailable.
Circuit Breaker GFCI – Residences equipped with circuit breakers can have circuit breaker GFCI protection installed in the panel box to give protection for specific circuits. The circuit breaker GFCI serves two functions. The circuit breaker GFCI will shut off power to the circuit in the instance of a ground fault and the GFCI protected circuit breaker will turn power off if a short circuit or overload is detected.
Whether you are considering a GFCI upgrade or you just have questions Barney’s Electric can provide you with a team of licensed electricians to help with all of your electrical needs. Once you hire Barney’s Electric we promise to provide you with the dedicated service that you will call upon again and again. If you have any questions or we can assist you in any way, please feel free to contact Barney’s Electric at 972-771-9464. For your convenience, you may also request services from this site.