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What Are Ground Fault Interrupters?


Electrical usage will always come with some sort of risk. One of these risks is a ground fault. This occurs when there is a break in the low-resistance grounding path from an electrical system. When this happens, the electrical current may take an alternative path to the ground through the user. As you can well imagine, this may result in serious injury or even death. The solution? Ground Fault Interrupters.

How GFCIs Reduce Risk

Ground-fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs, work as fast-acting circuit breakers designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault. They can react within as little as 1/40 of a second. The device compares the amount of current going to and returning from equipment along the circuit conductors. It springs into action when the amount going differs from the amount returning by approximately 5 milliamperes. A properly maintained GFCI will trip as soon as a faulty tool is plugged in.

3 Different Styles

When determining whether or not you have GFCIs in your home, keep an eye out for these three different types:

  • Receptacle. Easily the most recognizable style, this is a two receptacle outlet with red and black test and reset buttons. These devices are low cost and very common.
  • Portable. As the name implies, this style of device is easy to transport. It is an outlet with only one receptacle with test and reset buttons. Some are designed to plug into existing non-GFCI outlets.
  • Cord-Connected. This one looks quite a bit different than its counterparts. Instead of being an outlet, this device is a plug with test and reset buttons incorporating the GFCI module. Its job is to protect the cord and any equipment attached to it.

GFCIs are simple, inexpensive devices that can save your life. Don’t take a chance when it comes to electricity. Kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and unfinished basements should all be fitted with GFCI outlets. If you’re due for an upgrade, call us today to get started.

Written by 4-Star Electric

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