What is a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)?
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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?
- Have an electrician make sure you have GFCI outlets where required.
- Test your GFCI outlets once a month and after power failures.
How Do I Test GFCI Outlets?
- Turn on the lamp.
- Press the TEST button.
- The lamp should have turned off.
- Press RESET.
- 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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