What is a GFCI?

In areas where water can be present, including kitchen, bathrooms, outdoors, and garage, there is an electrical outlet with an extra layer of protection installed known as GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These outlets are designed with circuit breakers as well as individual sensors that may detect minimal changes in an electrical current by measuring how much current is moving from hot to neutral. If an overload, short or another type of anomaly is detected, a GFCI outlet will shut down automatically, which will stop the flow of the power to the electrical device. 

 Notice the left slot is a little larger than the right? Some appliances can only be plugged in one way.

Notice the left slot is a little larger than the right? Some appliances can only be plugged in one way.


GFCI may save a person from shock or even death. If a person is using a device near water and the device has a short, it could lead to electrocution if the power isn’t shut off quickly. A GFCI is also designed to prevent this.


Locations

The reason GFCI’s are placed in areas where water might be present is that when electrical circuits might come in contact with water through a person. Lots of people don’t realize the danger of mixing moisture and electricity in the innocuous setting of their kitchen or bathroom because standing on a wet floor or mat after a shower happens quite frequently, so it might not be obvious not to use an electric curling iron if the floor is still wet. Oddly enough, it only takes a tiny amount of electrical current from one of these situations to cause fibrillation. 

 If your electrical appliance has a damaged plug or cord, do not use it.

If your electrical appliance has a damaged plug or cord, do not use it.

The GFCI is built right into an electrical outlet, which has two small buttons labeled test and reset. One of the primary purposes of GFCI is preventing a person from being a conduit for electricity. The GFCI acts as a circuit breaker, which kicks in when it detects that electrical current isn’t flowing the way it must be. An electrical outlet has hot, neutral, and ground wiring. When a device is plugged into an outlet, the electricity will flow from hot to neutral. If an electrical flow doesn’t follow the path as it should, GFCI will detect the issue and will cut off the power quickly. These identify discrepancies within 1/40th of a second and shut down quickly, avoiding any possible danger of someone being shocked.

Hundreds of lives are lost yearly due to electrocution in the past. But, ever since the GFCI mandate, this number has been significantly reduced. Currently, local building codes mandate that every property should have GFCI outlets. 

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