When there is an unintentional flow of electricity between a source of electrical current and a grounded surface, it is known as a ground fault. It generally occurs when electrical current suddenly gains a new, shorter path to ground. If there is no protection, a person will get an electric shock if he comes into contact with an energized part. The worst case scenario would be electrocution.
To prevent this from happening at your home, you must install GFCI outlets. A GFCI receptacle constantly monitors an electric circuit — if it detects even the slightest flow of electricity to a grounded item, it will immediately shut off the flow of electricity. It is used to protect people from electrocution in case they come in contact with exposed grounded items.
How is GFCI Different From Regular Circuit Breaker?
The main purpose of a circuit breaker or a fuse is to shut off the flow of electricity to a wire when there is too much demand for electricity. It can happen if too many electronic appliances are plugged into the circuit. Circuit breakers help in protecting you from a fire that can be caused due to the heat generated by the numerous appliances. Unlike GFCI, circuit breakers and fuses do not protect you from electrocution.
Why Install GFCI Outlets?
There is a good chance that few GFCI outlets are already installed in your home. An easy way to recognize them is to look for the ‘test’ and ‘reset’ buttons. If you don’t see the outlets, chances are that the house is really old and has outdated wiring. If there are no GFCI outlets, it would put your family at risk of injuries or damage. Electricians can install these outlets in older homes, but it would be better if the entire home is given a new wiring system.
Installing GFCI outlets will ensure that all the electric outlets in your home are working safely. Its main purpose is to turn off the power if there is a risk of electric shocks. Without a GFCI, the ground fault can cause a circuit to spark or heat up to the point leading to fires. Moreover, it can cause irreparable damage to the device that was plugged into the outlet.
Where to Install GFCI Outlets?
It is a good idea to install a GFCI outlet yourself in every socket in your home for safety reasons, however, if that isn’t a feasible option for you, then ensure that you place them in the following places without fail:
- Kitchen Counters
- Outdoor Lines
- Garages or Basements
- Appliance Circuits
- Laundry or Utility Rooms
If any place is prone to moisture or is near a water source, it is important to install GFCI outlets in that place. If you have kids or pets, it would be ideal to opt for GFCI outlets throughout the house. It would be a good idea to install Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) outlets too because an arc fault results from damaged wiring, which could cause a fire. This way you would be protected from electrocution as well as electric fires.
Whenever you install GFCI outlets, always call the professionals instead of trying to do it on your own and risk your life. The professionals will evaluate your home and devise the best possible installation plan.
Jeson Pitt works with the marketing department of D&F Liquidators and regularly writes to share his knowledge while enlightening people about electrical products and solving their electrical dilemmas. He’s got the industry insights that you can count on along with years of experience in the field. Jeson lives in Hayward, CA and loves to explore different cuisines that the food trucks in the Bay area have to offer.