Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are devices installed in electrical circuits to protect against ground faults. A ground fault is an unintended electrical path between a conductive element and the ground. This can happen when insulation is damaged, or a wire becomes loose and touches something that conducts electricity, such as metal. You need to understand the different types of GFCIs and how they help prevent severe injury or electrocution.
1. Receptacle Type Incorporates a GFCI Device
In this case, the GFCI is built into the electrical receptacle. This type of GFCI offers protection to all outlets downstream on the circuit. So, if you have a GFCI outlet in your bathroom, any outlets connected to it on the same course will also be protected. You’ll know if you have a receptacle type GFCI because it will have a “test” and “reset” button on the face.
2. Offers Whole-House Protection
A circuit breaker type GFCI is a special circuit breaker installed in your electrical panel. This type of GFCI protects the entire circuit, not just outlets downstream. In other words, if you have a GFCI circuit breaker and something trips it, every outlet on that circuit will be without power until you reset the breaker.
3. The Portable Type Is Great for Temporary Protection
A portable GFCI is a small plug-in device that offers ground fault protection. They are not permanently installed, so they can be used in any outlet on any circuit. Portable GFCIs are great for use in construction or renovation projects where you need temporary protection. Therefore, the next time you’re working on a project that involves electricity, be sure to use a portable GFCI to help keep you safe.
4. Cord-Connected Type of GFC
This type of GFCI is similar to the portable type, but it’s designed to be used with tools and appliances with a cord. Cord-connected GFCIs offer protection to the user and the appliance. They are typically used on construction sites or in other industrial settings. You can use this type of GFCI in any circuit, but it’s important to note that they must be used with appliances with a cord.
How Do Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters Work?
GFCIs are designed to sense ground faults and quickly shut off the power to prevent serious injury or electrocution. They work by feeling when a current flows through an unintended path and then shutting off the power before it can cause harm. To do this, GFCIs constantly monitor the current flowing in a circuit. They trip and shut off the power when they sense that the current is flowing through an unintended path. This happens in a fraction of a second and can save your life.
As you will discover, GFCIs provide an essential safety function in your home or office. They are designed to shut off power in the event of a ground fault, which can prevent severe injury or electrocution. There are several different types of GFCIs, so be sure to choose the one that best suits your needs. Contact Walsh Electric if you have any questions about GFCIs or electrical safety.