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What Are GFCI Outlets, and Where Do I Need Them?

If you’re new to the world of electrical outlets, then you might be unfamiliar with GFCI circuits. However, they’re incredibly common, so you’ve likely seen one yourself during your life without knowing it. GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter, and they’re able to protect homeowners and their families from potential electrocutions thanks to their dynamic components. Before you begin your GFCI installation, learn what rooms make the best use of them, how they operate, and how they can save lives.

Why Are GFCI Outlets Important for Home Electricity Safety?

GFCI circuits differ from standard electrical outlets not just in their appearance but their functionality as well. A GFCI is designed to protect home residents from potential electrical shocks that could severely injure them. This feat is accomplished by the GFCI’s ability to detect electrical imbalances flowing in and out of the circuit breaker.

If the GFCI identifies any changes, it promptly turns off the power to prevent any damage from electrocution or shock. GFCIs are able to react at lightning-fast speeds so they can stop the electricity flow before it’s too late. Electricity passes through humans because it always searches for a plan to the ground, even if it’s through a person.

Additionally, the GFCI can detect if any water has splashed into the outlet and shut off to prevent the area from becoming hazardous. The ions in water conduct electricity well, which is why it can be so dangerous near outlets.

Where Should I Install GFCI Outlets in My Home?

The areas where people are most at risk of electrocution are those where sources of water are present near electrical devices. Therefore, while GFCI circuits can protect people from shock in any room of their home, those high-risk areas are the places they’re the most useful. Below are some of the rooms you ought to install GFCI protection.

  1. Bathrooms, which contain sinks and toilets.

  2. Basements, especially unfinished basements, where moisture buildup is more common.

  3. Garages or other outbuildings that can become wet easily.

  4. Kitchens, where sinks and dishwashers are commonly found.

  5. Laundry rooms, which have washing machines and sometimes have sinks.

  6. Outside areas, where water is more prominent, especially by pool fixtures.

Why Are GFCI Outlets Tested?

Because of the enhanced safety capabilities of GFCI circuits, the National Electric Code requires that homeowners have installed a GFCI outlet in specific situations. For example, all receptacles from 125-volt to 250-volt must be equipped with GFCI. Prior to establishing this code, roughly 800 Americans died per year due to household electrocutions. After implementing the GFCI requirements, the death rate dropped considerably.

To test the safety of the GFCI circuits in your home, press the test button to cut off electricity. Attaching a small electronic device to the GFCI, like a desk lamp, can help you see if the outlet is working correctly. After checking to ensure it operates appropriately, press the reset button to restore the flow of electricity. Checking every single GFCI in your home is vital for knowing that they work right, but because the process is quick and easy, the testing does not take very long to complete.

If you seek the assistance of an emergency electrician in Essex County or other nearby community, call Cornerstone Electrical today for professional help.

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