GFCI(ground-fault-circuit-interrupter)

What is a GFCI?

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GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. GFCI is a type of circuit breaker which trip quickly to prevent electrocution or electric shock and protect people. The ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground fault within a few milliseconds. 

Ground fault circuit interrupter works by comparing the amount of outgoing and incoming current from equipment along the circuit conductors. The GFCI outlet is designed with special sensors that may detect minimal changes in an electrical current. When the Ground fault circuit interrupter senses an imbalance between the outgoing and incoming current then the Ground fault circuit interrupter interrupts the current.

Where water can be present like kitchen, bathrooms, outdoors, and garage, there is an electrical outlet with an extra layer of protection installed known as Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. It also protects against fires, overheating and also protects electrical wiring. Ground fault circuit interrupter outlets are also used in temporary wiring systems during construction or maintenance work.

In a Ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, there are two vertical slots and then a round hole centered below them. The left slot is called “neutral,” the right slot is called “phase or live” and the hole below them is called “earthing or ground” and also there are two buttons such as “test” and “reset”. It trips when there is any imbalance occurred and minimizes or reduces the risk of shock injury and death.

For example, when you plug in a hairdryer, the Ground fault circuit interrupter outlet monitors the amount of power going to the device. If you accidentally drop the appliance into the water bucket or anywhere else, the Ground fault circuit interrupter detects the minimal change in current and cuts the power supply, and saves a life.

Types of GFCI

There are three types of GFCI that are commonly used.

Receptacle GFCI

Receptacle GFCI devices are the most popular GFCI because of their low cost.

Portable type GFCI

Portable Type GFCIs come in different styles, all are easily transportable. The portable ground fault circuit interrupters are also designed to plug into non-ground fault circuit interrupter outlets. 

Cord-Connected GFCI

The Cord-Connected Type of Ground fault circuit interrupter is an attachment plug incorporating the GFCI module. It protects the cord and any equipment attached to the cord. This Ground fault circuit interrupter has also come with a “TEST” and “RESET” switch. If any supply conductor is open then it disconnects the power.

How to check the GFCI is working properly or not?

 To test the outlet, press the Reset button, and then plug in a simple electrical device after that the device should turn on. Then press the Test button and after that, the power will be immediately cut off and now it is confirmed that the Ground fault circuit interrupter is working properly if the power doesn’t shut down then the GFCI outlet was faulty and it requires immediate replacement.

Where GFCIs are Used ?

Ground fault circuit interrupter is used where water can present and it protects the people from electric shock or electrocution such as:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry and utility rooms
  • Garages
  • Wet bars
  • unfinished basements.
  • Spa and pool areas etc.

How to installed the GFCI

  1. First, check if there are any GFCI outlets are installed or not. If not installed then
  2. Turn off the power of the circuit breaker or main switch.
  3. Remove the outlet and attached wires.
  4. Installed the new Ground fault circuit interrupter outlet in the panel and connect the wires.
    • Black-Hot wire
    • White-Neutral wire
    • Green-Ground or earthing wire
  5. After installation completed turn on the power and check the Ground fault circuit interrupter is working or not.

GFCI should be installed on outlets within six fits of washing machine, water heater, garages and also unfinished basements, etc.

FAQs FOR GFCI:

What is a GFCI outlet and how does it work?

GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. GFCI is a type of circuit breaker which trip quickly to prevent electrocution or electric shock and protect people. The ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground fault within a few milliseconds. The GFCI is designed with special sensors that may detect minimal changes in an electrical current. When the Ground fault circuit interrupter senses an imbalance between the outgoing and incoming current then the Ground fault circuit interrupter interrupts the current.

What is the purpose of a GFCI?

GFCI is a type of circuit breaker which trip quickly to prevent electrocution or electric shock and saves life because it is designed with special sensors that may detect minimal changes in an electrical current. When GFCI senses an imbalance between the outgoing and incoming current then the Ground fault circuit interrupter interrupts the current. It also protects against fires, overheating and also protects electrical wiring. 

Can I put a GFCI anywhere in a circuit?

Yes, you can replace almost any electrical outlet with a GFCI outlet.

Can you put 2 GFCI outlets on the same circuit?

Yes, you can have 2 or multiple GFCI outlets on the same circuit, but it is not necessary. A single GFCI outlet can be used to provide GFCI protection for all the normal outlets after GFCI installation if wired correctly.

Is it better to use a GFCI outlet or breaker?

Yes, the GFCI outlet is best because GFCI outlets are easier to install and it is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground fault within a few milliseconds. 

How far does a GFCI have to be from a sink?

GFCI should be installed on outlets within six fits of washing machine, water heater, garages and also unfinished basements, etc.

Where do you put a GFCI in a circuit?

Ground fault circuit interrupter is used where water can present and it protects the people from electric shock or electrocution such as:
1.Bathrooms
2.Kitchens
3.Laundry and utility rooms
4.Garages
5.Wet bars
6.unfinished basements.
7.Spa and pool areas etc.

Do all outlets in a bathroom need to be GFCI?

Minimum, a bathroom needs one GFCI-protected outlet. It’s your choice how many outlets you want to protect.

What does it mean when the GFCI light is on?

If the GFCI outlet has a blinking red light, this means that there is a problem. Self-testing GFCI outlets perform regular tests to make sure they work properly. If the device fails the test, it will trip, and the red light will turn on.

How many outlets can one GFCI protect?

There’s no limit. A standard GFCI will protect up to 20 amps.


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