What Is a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)?

One of our electricians’ many goals is to improve electrical safety in New Iberia, Lafayette, and Abbeville, LA, and today we’d like to discuss a simple device that saves lives—the GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter.

What are GFCIs?

GFCIs are extremely important safety devices that are built into electrical outlets as well as electrical appliances and tools that may be likely to come into contact with water or moisture. GFCIs automatically cut off electrical current when it goes astray, preventing electrical shocks that could seriously injure or kill a person.

How does a GFCI work?

Hairdryers present an excellent example of GFCIs in action. Nowadays, all new hairdryers are required to have GFCIs in them, but in the past hairdryers posed a serious safety hazard. When a person dropped a hairdryer into a sink or bathtub of water, that person may have instinctively reached down to snatch it up. The high-voltage electricity could travel through the water, down a metal pipe to the ground, where the user might be standing on a damp floor. By reaching in for the hairdryer, the person allows the electrical current to travel through his or her body, causing serious injury or death. GFCIs, found in new hairdryers, cut off the electrical current immediately, should the hairdryer come into contact with water. The current has been stopped so quickly that by the time the person reaches for the dropped hairdryer the risk of electrical shock has been eliminated.

Where should GFCIs be installed?

The hairdryer presents just one example of a GFCI in action; GFCIs can protect you from electrical shock in a variety of places. Any outlet in or around your home where electrical appliances, tools, or other electronics will be used in proximity to water should be protected with a GFCI. GFCIs are most commonly needed in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, bedrooms, garages, patios, porches, pool areas, workshops, and other outdoor areas. The more outlets that have GFCIs, the better protected you and your family will be from dangerous electrical shocks.

At Pipes & Plugs, we love opportunities to make residential electrical systems safer. If your home is lacking GFCI protection in one or more areas, give our electricians a call today! We install GFCIs in New Iberia, Lafayette, Abbeville, and the surrounding areas. Take the time to make sure your home is protected because it could save a life!