WHAT IS GFCI? WHY TO INSTALL GFCI? A COMPLETE GUIDE

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If your house is old or the wiring in the house has not been updated since years, it is high time to consider installing GFCI (GROUNF FAULT CIRCUIT INTERUPTER). It is a preventive outlet that detects potential electrocution and cancels the power supply to the outlet. It detects any current leaking from the system and immediately breaks the circuit just before a person is at the danger of getting a shock. According to modern building codes, getting GFCI installed in houses has been made mandatory due to security purposes. 

Although it is advised to seek professional help like Aleco Electric for any electrical repair and installation, GFCI installation is comparatively an easy task that you can do by yourself. 

HOW DOES A GFCI OUTLET WORK? 

A GFCI outlet is modern than a regular electrical outlet in your house. It looks the same as the regular outlet but has two buttons, a TEST button and a RESET button. The Entire purpose of this outlet is to detect the surge of power through the circuit and disconnect the supply before any potential life hazard occur. The outlet has a sensor that monitors the flow of electricity through it and when the sensor detects an unusual supply of power within the circuit it disrupts the flow electricity. 

HOW TO OPERATE A GFCI OUTLET?

If the GFCI outlet is not wired properly or wired to the load terminals, it will not function and can cause life threatening hazard for your house members. Testing a GFCI outlet after installation is hence necessary. 

Plug a lamp in the GFCI outlet and turn it on. Then press the ‘‘TEST’’ button on the outlet. If the circuit breaks and the power to the lamp is cut, GFCI is detecting the surge. 

Press the ‘RESET’ button on the outlet and see if the power to the lamp is restored. If yes, the outlet is working fine. But if it doesn’t restore power, there is a problem in the GFCI wiring that you need to check right away. 

GFCI outlets are much more reliable than the circuit breaker in your electrical panel to stop current flow. These outlets can regulate the electricity as they are built to cut off power flow before an electrical shock can affect you. It is necessary to test all of the GFCI outlets in your home regularly.

GFCI INSTALLATION AREAS

Modern electrical wiring codes obligate GFCI outlets to be installed in every new home. The old homes are however not made mandatory to have the outlets until the wiring is being updated. It still is better to get them installed for your safety. 

Following are the areas where GFCIs need to be installed:

Kitchen

Laundry rooms/utility rooms

Bathrooms

Any unfinished basement or basement with flooding issues

Wet bars

Garages

Landscaping

Outdoors

If you want to install GFCI outlets in your house, contact Aleco electric for a professional service. 

GFCI OUTLET LIMITATIONS

GFCI outlets are not equipped to handle the plugging of high voltage appliances like refrigerators and freezers. Other electronic appliances like dryers, curling irons and stoves require 240 amp of power and are not compatible with GFCIs. Plugging in too many devices in a single outlet can also cause it to trip. So, avoid plugging higher voltage requiring appliances and multiple devices at the same time in GFCI. 

GFCI MAINTENANCE: 

Although the outlets do not require any hectic maintenance schedule after installation, it is advised to test the outlets occasionally to check if they are working properly. Sometimes when an outlet gets old and worn out, it can trip by itself without any apparent cause. In that case you should replace them immediately.

Conclusion:

Do not take your house safety lightly and get GFCIs installed if you still have not. Aleco Electric and repair is providing the best electric install and repair service in Northern California. Hire them if you want your house to be safe from potential electric hazards.