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Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

A GCFI, or a ground fault circuit interrupter, is a very inexpensive special device that’s used to help prevent any kind of electrocution within a household. In addition, it also helps curb the number of basic electric shock and burn injuries that occur every year. A GCFI is also known to reduce the number of house or business fires that occur because of faulty wiring or other wiring issues.

Most homes need ground fault circuit interrupters to protect them from getting shocked. They have ground-faults, which are basically accidental electrical paths that run between the source of an electric current and any grounded surface. Ground faults occur when that current then starts leaking somewhere. In other words, the electricity starts leaking, creating a safety hazard and the human body ends up becoming a direct path to the ground for the leak to access. When this happens, a current will go through the body, shocking the person, causing any number of serious injuries.

    How Do They Work?

    Ground fault circuit interrupters work by doing one major thing: monitoring the electricity that flows in a circuit. When they are installed in a home’s wiring system, they are able to actually sense when any type of current loss happens. Current loss is usually a good indication that there is a leak somewhere that needs to be dealt with. When the ground fault circuit interrupter senses that there’s been a change in the current, it immediately cuts off power to prevent a massive shock. While it is still possible to receive a shock, the ground fault circuit interrupter would have significantly lowered the shock’s power, making it far less deadly.


    There are three types of ground fault circuit interrupters that can be installed in the home. The receptacle types are usually placed throughout the house and they fit inside standard outlets boxes. They can be plugged into the outlet. Most of these types also protect the outlets that are further down the branch circuit in the system. Circuit breaker types are put in homes with circuit breakers instead of fuses. They not only shut off electricity when needed, but also trip when an overload occurs. Portable types are one-time use interrupters and they are often used for small electrical products.


      When installing GFCIs, they should go in most outdoor receptacles, bathroom, kitchen circuits, crawl spaces, and unfinished basements. They should also be used when someone is operating heavy garden equipment like mowers and hedge trimmers. It’s always best to have an electrician install them, although no special knowledge or tools are needed to put them in.

      Also keep in mind that GFCI’s should be inspected at least once a month to ensure that they are protecting the circuit. All of them have built-in buttons that say “reset” and “test” so simply press the “test” button. The “reset” button should pop out and the light on it should go off. If this does not happen, then it needs to be replaced. If it happens, just press the “reset” button to restore power.