September 8, 2017
Ground fault circuit interrupters — or GFCIs — are best thought of as miniature circuit breakers. They take the place of traditional outlets and are made to shut off power in the event of current irregularities, such as moisture getting into an outlet or skin contact at the point of connection. They are designed so that if they detect an irregularity in current, they can ensure that no shorting or physical damage occurs.
How & Where We Recommend Installing GFCIs
Because water is so conductive to electricity, the number one place you should install a GFCI is in any high-moisture area. These include:
- Outdoor Outlets
- Laundry Rooms
- Utility Rooms
You should also consider installing GFCIs in places where outlets receive more interaction. Places like workshops where people frequently plug things in are given an added benefit by having the safety of a GFCI available. Installing a GFCI is as easy as installing a standard power outlet. All the hardware the system needs to perform as specified is included in the body of the device. You just need to turn off the power, wire it in, secure it, and you’re good to go.
The Dangers of Not Having Working GFCIs
While traditional outlets do a great job of providing power to your devices, they don’t come with any added safety net. Adding GFCIs to your space keeps both your health and your electrical system safe against issues. For instance, if you have wet hands and touch a metal connector while it’s still halfway in your outlet, you could wind up getting seriously shocked. Because of the way GFCIs are designed, they can detect the difference in power levels instantly and shut off within milliseconds, keeping you safe. This same logic applies to water getting into outlets — a situation that would normally result in a short.
How to Test Your GFCIs
Every GFCI has two buttons on its face. One is for resetting it, and the other is for testing it. The test button is designed to simulate what would happen if the GFCI came into contact with bad voltage. If the GFCI is functioning properly, the connections will all cut off immediately. You can check with a voltage meter or a multimeter to make sure that the power is cut. If the power keeps flowing, it indicates that your GFCI isn’t working and needs to be replaced.
How to Install New GFCIs or Replace Old Ones
Installing a GFCI is as easy as installing a traditional power outlet. Just turn off the power, remove the old outlet, wire the GFCI, and screw it in. If you want to easily replace all of your outlets with safer GFCI options or have an area in mind that you’d like to update to be safer, consider using CMC Electric. We provide professional, friendly electrical service to Raleigh, Clayton, and Wilmington, NC. We can tackle all of your GFCI needs. If you’re interested, simply request service from us now to get started.