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What Are GFCI Outlets?

A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is a simple circuit breaker that protects people from electric shocks. When an imbalance in the incoming and outgoing current is detected, the GFCI shuts off the power to prevent damage to your home’s wiring–not to mention potential electrocution.

Any time you use an electric outlet, it monitors how much power is going into the device. Should that power become unbalanced or if you are using an appliance (such as a hairdryer) and it becomes exposed to water, the GFCI detects this and cuts the power. It takes a very small amount of electrical power to cause major damage to your home and your body. Standard circuit breakers will cut power around 10 to 20 amps, but because GFCI outlets are set to detect an imbalance of just 0.005 amps.

Should your GFCI outlet trip, it is equipped with a reset button. If the problem that caused the circuit to deactivate is not fixed, the GFCI keeps the circuit shut off and will not reset. It’s a good idea to contact a specialist if the problem is not immediately clear or obvious to fix. There is also a test button that should be tested once a month to ensure the circuit breaker is working properly.

In Which Areas of My Home Should One Be Installed?

It’s a good idea to install a GFCI circuit breaker anywhere with high exposure to moisture. Most often, you will find these in bathrooms or kitchens where electrical devices are used and people’s bare flesh may be in contact with the floor or metal fixtures. These provide an alternate path for current to travel in the case of an electrical fault.

If you need a GFCI outlet installed in your home, contact Nies Electric. Our professional electricians will help you install or repair the right outlets for your home.