Do I Need A Ground Fault Interrupter?
May 04, 2023
Did you know that a mere 0.030 amps through a human body can lead to paralysis of skeletal muscles and even stop the heart?
Perhaps knowing this and more to be explored below, you can consider a GFCI as a superhero undercover.
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is also known as a Residual Current Device (RCD). However, the most popular name remains GFCI. It is a type of circuit breaker that shuts off power when there is a sudden imbalance between the current going in and out of the home. It responds to power surges, and other triggers to protect you from getting shocked.
The electrical faults responsible for such occurrences include a short circuit, equipment malfunction, or insulation failure. GFCI outlets are often installed in damp areas of the home because water and electricity do not mix nicely. They are also installed in garages, basements, laundry rooms, and outdoor outlets. They often protect you from unconscious carelessness. In the kitchen, GFCIs play a vital role as they are placed with all outlets serving countertop areas.
Hence the answer to the question of if you need a ground fault circuit interrupter is yes. There are two major reasons why and these are safety and law. Safety, as we have seen above, is important. Having a GFCI means you are safe from shocks and unexpected electrical problems due to an imbalance in current flow. The other reason why you need a GFCI is that it’s the law and it’s expected of you to have it. Most local building codes are crystal clear on their requirements for homes to have GFCI protection on receptacles/outlets and devices in wet areas, outdoor areas, and work areas.
A ground fault circuit interrupter is not the same as grounding. A GFCI can perform its job without a grounded circuit, but installing a GFCI on a non-grounded circuit means your home is not truly grounded and other protectors like surge protectors that need a ground will be unable to do their jobs.
How to get GFCI protection
We have discussed how important having a ground fault circuit interrupter is and that they can be installed with outlets. GFCI protection can come in a variety of forms depending on your electrician and your needs. The most common form is the receptacle, which is wired to protect itself and other devices ‘downstream’ on the same circuit. Another form is a GFCI breaker, which is ideal. A GFCI breaker protects all the electrical components wired to its circuit. There is also a GFCI extension cord for protection when working outdoors.
Who should install GFCI protection
Only an experienced and professional electrician should carry out the installation of a ground fault circuit interrupter. It is the best option to ensure a smooth installation, a working system, and safety during the installation and while using the GFCI. Contact us at Yes! to get this done for you, or perhaps to confirm if your electrical system is safe with GFCI protection and grounding.
Last Updated: September 18, 2023