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Get To Know: GFCI Outlets

Closeup of hand resetting tripped GFI electricity receptacle. Residential ground fault interrupter electric socket plug and wall plate.

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Are you aware of the importance of GFCI outlets in your home or office? If not, then it’s time to get acquainted with these electrical safety devices. GFCI outlets are an important part of any home or commercial building’s electrical system and can help protect against electric shock and electrocution.

At Haines Electric, we understand the need for safe and reliable power systems that meet all safety standards. That is why we offer a wide range of services related to installing, servicing, and maintaining GFCI outlets in residential and commercial properties throughout the area. In this resource, we will discuss why GFCIs are so important for protecting your property from potential hazards posed by faulty wiring or other accidents involving electricity.

We’ll start with 3 of the most common GFCI questions:

1. What is a GFCI Outlet?

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets are designed to protect people and property in the event of a power failure or malfunction. In the event of a ground fault, such as an appliance falling into water, the GFCI outlet is designed to quickly detect and shut off the flow of electricity before any harm is done.

2. Where do I need to put them?

GFCI outlets are a requirement in many areas of the US, including all bathrooms and kitchens, due to the increased risk of electrocution when dealing with water-related activities.

GFCI outlets should be installed in any area of a home or office that contains electrical equipment and appliances that use water, such as bathrooms, kitchen, laundry rooms, and garages. GFCI outlets are also recommended for outdoor areas such as patios, decks, swimming pools, spas and hot tubs to help protect against electric shock.

3. How does a GFCI differ from a traditional outlet?

A GFCI outlet is designed differently than a traditional outlet and is much more advanced. GFCIs feature two built-in circuit breakers that work together to detect any abnormalities in the current, such as a short circuit or ground fault. When these abnormalities are detected, the GFCI quickly trips and shuts off the electric circuit.

Here’s how a GFCI Outlet Works

GFCI outlets feature two built-in circuit breakers that work together to detect any irregularities in the current flow, such as a short circuit or ground fault. If either circuit breaker detects something abnormal, it will immediately trip and shut off the electric current within milliseconds, preventing potential electrocution or serious injury.

Whats on the inside?

The construction of a GFCI outlet begins with its main component—the breaker itself. This is typically made from molded plastic material with metal contacts on either side that connect it to an external power source via wires.

The contacts themselves have small holes which allow them to sense changes in voltage when something goes wrong within the outlet’s circuitry. Inside each contact is also a spring mechanism which allows for quick disconnection of power if necessary. Additionally, there is usually an LED light indicator located somewhere on the device that can help alert users when it needs attention or resetting after being tripped.

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