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What Are GCFI Outlets and Why Do I Need Them?

gfci outlets
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have you heard of GFCI outlets? Whether you have or haven’t, Art Plumbing, AC & Electric wants you to keep reading!

Working from home has become the new normal for a lot of us. This means that the amount of thought given to the state of our electrical system needs to increase. Not only for the safety of our family but also for our electronics (and livelihood).

One way to ensure protection is to have GFCI outlets installed through your home. They are inexpensive and easy to install (not to mention required by law).

But what is a GFCI outlet and why do you need them?

What Are GFCI Outlets?

Let’s start at the beginning and discuss what a GFCI outlet is and how it works. A GFCI outlet’s full name is a ground fault circuit interrupter. It is an outlet designed to protect people from electric shock, even better than a regular outlet. But how?

When an appliance is plugged into an outlet, electricity flows and completes a circuit. The electricity moves from the hot side of the outlet, through the appliance and back to the neutral side of the outlet. A GFCI outlet monitors this flow of electricity and trips if it detects an imbalance.

Generally, if an imbalance is detected it means that the electricity is not completing the circuit. Instead, it is flowing from the hot side of the outlet into the ground. Electricity flowing into the ground shows that it is taking a shortcut that it shouldn’t be taking, and that shortcut could be a person!

A GFCI is super-sensitive and fast reacting.

Why Do You Need Them?

Now that we understand how a GFCI outlet works, let’s talk about why we need them.

  • Prevent Shocks

    The GFCI’s built-in sensor helps to protect your family from electrical shocks or electrocution. Its ability to shut down instantly makes its slightly higher price worth it. After all, you can’t put a price on safety.

  • Avoid Electrical Fires

    A ground fault is when electricity leaves a circuit and is one of the major causes of electrical fires. By the GFCI shutting down immediately when an imbalance is detected, it avoids the possibility of a fire breaking out. While it performs a similar function to a fuse, together these components reduce the possibility of an electrical fire to almost zero.

  • Keep Appliances Safe

    After a few years, normal wear and tear start to take its toll on your appliance’s wire insulation. This may cause it to crack or even break.

    Broken insulation allows electrical current to leak into the appliance itself. If your appliance is metal, the leak will make itself known by shocking you. Even if your appliance isn’t metal; over time the leaking electrical current will damage your appliance.

    A GFCI outlet ensures the safety of your appliances by shutting down when a leak it detected.

Where Do You Need GFCI Outlets Installed?

Installing a GFCI is very important, especially in areas where water is present. Some of these areas would be the:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchen
  • Laundry and utility room
  • Garage
  • Crawlspaces
  • Pool and outdoor areas

Not only is this a good preventative measure but installing these outlets throughout your home is now required by law in many instances.

How Art Can Help You Today 

With most of our time being spent at home, a lot more pressure has been put on our home systems. Ensuring that your home and family have always been a priority but working from home means that your electronics need to become one as well. Installing GFCI outlets can protect everything at once. Call Art Plumbing, AC & Electric today at 1-800-475-1504 for any questions.

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