What Is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)?
A ground fault circuit interrupter or a GFCI outlet helps protect people against electrocution. It also keeps appliances from damaging themselves when there’s loose wiring. Most of the time, these installations are put in places where water may come in contact with electricity – these may include your kitchen, your bathroom, or your laundry area.
By design, a GFCI can detect if there is an imbalance between the incoming and outgoing currents. Should there be too much energy in the current, the GFCI breaks the circuit to reduce and prevent the risk of overheating wires and fires. Here are a few other important points about what a GFCI outlet is and how it functions.
How a GFCI Outlet Works
A GFCI is integrated into an outlet. It constantly tracks the current flowing in a circuit to sense fluctuations. Simply put, it trips a circuit to prevent wires from damaging themselves and keep people from getting electrocuted. GFCI outlets have three holes for different functions: two of them are for the neutral and hot wires, while the third one is for the ground wire.
A ground fault happens when electricity escapes the insulation or wiring and goes for a different conductor. Let’s say, for example, that a device, like a hair dryer, was dropped and submerged into a sink full of water – the current gets redirected into the water. In response, the GFCI will sense the interruption and cut the power to prevent an accident from happening.
However, if a GFCI is constantly tripping, a maintenance check from an electrician may be needed. They can help you deduce the cause of the problem and do the necessary steps to fix the issue. Electricians can also install GFCI outlets on your property if you are planning to add some. You can also go on the DIY route and install a GFCI on your own but you will get better results with the help of a professional.
The Durability of a GFCI
Like any other device, GFCIs will eventually wear out; high-quality GFCIs can last for a decade before requiring replacement. Other GFCIs, however, are known to fail before reaching 10 years. Some of the factors that can lead to this include improper installation, water damage, conductive debris or dust, and worn-out insulation.
Getting your GFCI outlets inspected annually is highly recommended to make sure that they are working properly. This way, you can lessen the chances of costly or deadly accidents like house fires and electrocutions from occurring.
Get GFCI Assistance From Trustworthy Electricians
If you’re looking for experts who can provide you with excellent services regarding your home’s electrical system, turn to Kish & Sons Electric in La Crosse, WI. We can also provide you with a free estimate and we are always ready to tackle any project you have for us. Reach out to us today for more details on the services we offer.