You might think that your home is already safe, but you can always make it safer. For the areas at home that come in contact with water, like the kitchen or the bathroom, installing a traditional outlet isn’t enough. Promote safety from electric shock by installing a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, which is specifically designed for use in homes.
What It Does
Outlets are always at risk of a “ground fault”, which happens when there is a conducting connection between any electric conductor and any conducting material, whether intentional or accidental. This is where the GFCI comes in: once it senses a disturbance in current, it immediately breaks the electrical circuit and shuts off the energy flow.
Though GFCI outlets are preferred mostly because of their faster reaction, these also help in reducing the risk of electrical fires and damage to electrical appliances. It even provides additional protection when it shares a circuit with other traditional outlets.
Checking the GFCI
Though preferred by most homeowners, many of them fail to check their GFCIs regularly. Like most electrical devices, GFCIs are susceptible to wear and tear. That’s why electrical experts recommend that GFCIs should be tested monthly to confirm that these are working properly. To test its functionality, simply push the “test” button and see if the reset button pops out and the appliance shuts off.
Installing a GFCI
The receptacle-type GFCI outlet is the one most homeowners are most familiar with, though there are other options available. Installing one into your home is never a DIY project, as it may cause serious injuries if done improperly. That’s why you should always entrust this job to a licensed electrician.
What is a GFCI Outlet?, Angie’s List
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs), SafeElectricity.org