What Are GFCIs? Why Do I Need Them in and Around My Home?

Although electricity is incredibly useful, it can also be incredibly dangerous if not properly respected and safely used. That’s why you must always be aware of the need for electrical safety to protect you and your family when using any electrical device.

GFCIs: One of the Most Important Devices for Electrical Safety

One of the most effective safety devices you can use in your home is known as a GFCI, which stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. Continue reading for more on what these devices are and why they’re so important.

What Is a GFCI?

A GFCI is a device that’s combined with a power outlet to provide protection against electrical shock. Although GFCIs are usually integrated into the outlet, portable/pluggable versions are also available at hardware stores and other retailers. GFCIs work by detecting the amount of power flowing to a connected device and comparing that reading with the amount of power flowing from the connected device to the ground or neutral connection.

If the outlet senses an imbalance in these two measurements, it will trip a localized circuit, interrupting the flow of electricity to the outlet. This is different from how a circuit breaker works, which only trips if the circuit becomes overloaded, regardless of how much power is being used.

Why Do I Need GFCIs?

The imbalances GFCI are designed to detect typically arise from some type of electrical shock. If a person becomes part of an electrical circuit due to coming into contact with electricity and being grounded, the electricity that enters their body will not return to the GFCI. This causes the imbalance required to interrupt the flow of power.

A GFCI outlet reacts much more quickly to electrical shock situations than a circuit breaker. In a situation when seconds matter, a GFCI outlet can literally save your life. These safety mechanisms should be installed in any location where an outlet is close to a source of water, including outside, to keep you and your family safe.

Proper Installation is Key

For a GFCI outlet to be effective, it must be installed correctly. If wires get switched during installation, you’ll have no protection, even if you have power at the outlet.

For all Your Home Electrical Work, Call GVEC Home

If you need to install a permanent, outlet-based GFCI, it’s crucial to call an experienced electrician. You also need an experienced electrician for solar installation, re-wiring and a host of other electrical jobs around your home—GVEC Home has a team of experienced, licensed professional electricians that can handle them all. For service you can trust on any home electrical job, call GVEC Home at 888.590.7773.