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What is a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)? 
Keep scrolling to find out!

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Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

“Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are the difference between life and death in certain circumstances…” Brady Oppenheim

Quick Facts On GFCIs

  • According to OSHA, GFCI is a fast acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground fault. 
  • It was invented by Charles Dalziel in 1961 and patented in 1965.
  • GFCIs were required by code as early as 1971.
    • Eaton has made a brochure showing recent GFCI code revisions.  You can find it here
  • GFCI outlets are required in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor spaces, in crawlspaces, basements, and boathouses.   
  • EFSi estimates that if GFCI protection was not required, there would be a 603% increase in electrocutions

Ground Fault FAQs

  • What is a ground fault? “A ground fault happens when power leaks off the hot to ground.” Melvin Joyner 
  • What causes a ground fault?  A few things can cause ground faults, including: loose connections, water contact, poorly insulated or damaged wiring. 

What Do I Need To Do With GFCI Outlets?

  1. Have an electrician make sure you have GFCI outlets where required. 
  2. Test your GFCI outlets once a month and after power failures.

How Do I Test GFCI Outlets?

If you don’t have the manufacturer’s instructions, suggests to plug in a lamp into your GFCI outlet for testing. What is a GFCI

  1. Turn on the lamp.
  2. Press the TEST button.
    1. The lamp should have turned off. 
  3. Press RESET.
    1. The lamp should have come back on. 

If the lamp did not turn off during test and back on during reset, you need a licensed electrician to come inspect the GFCI or wiring.  



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What is a GFCI