A GFCI is an electrical safety device that prevents electrocution. It works in such a way that when a person receives an electrical shock, the GFCI automatically sense it, and switches off the power before the person can get seriously injured. These devices are used more in places where the electrical circuits have a greater propensity to come in contact with water. Hence, you will find them in kitchens, baths as well as garages. Read on for more information about the GFCI circuit breaker.
How Does a GFCI Work?
The GFCI determines the difference in the intensity of electricity passing through a circuit, in both big as well as small amounts. The GFCI then springs into action swiftly in a fraction of a second to completely shut the circuit from passing any current to prevent electrocution.
There are mainly three types of GFCIs available in the market today – the receptacle GFCI (most commonly used in households as well as offices), circuit breaker GFCIs, and portable GFCIs. The circuit breaker variety is often utilized as a replacement for the regular circuit breakers and offer safety on the entire circuit. Portable GFCIs are more prevalent for outdoor jobs that require the use of tools, mowers, construction equipment, etc. These are to be stringently tested before they are used, and are not a substitute for the permanent GFCIs.
GFCIs are highly advised in places where electrical appliances are used in close contact with water. Water or moist objects have the ability to conduct electricity and pass it to the body. Therefore, there is a greater chance of electrocution in these places. There are now several appliances as well as gadgets in the market that comes with in-built GFCI. For these devices, an external GFCI is not required. However for the other appliances and electrical tools that do not come with the required GFCI, it is a must use for added safety as well as protection against electrocution.
Several customers make a grave mistake by not taking the trouble to test their GFCIs in order to ensure that the devices are working effectively. GFCIs should undergo a monthly check to ascertain that they are functioning smoothly. Once you push the test button, the circuit power should immediately be turned off. In the receptacle GFCIs, pressing the test button should bring up the reset button out. It is important to note that in the receptacle variety, the GFCI may still function even though the overall circuit is defunct. When you press the test button for the circuit breaker GFCI, the handle should move.
GFCI versus AFCI
The AFCI is often confused with the GFCI, though it serves a completely different purpose. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters are actually nothing but safety mechanisms used for enhancing protection from fires due to dangerous home wiring. Though both are essential safety devices, they both fulfill different objectives. While the AFCI offers protection from fires related to faulty wiring, GFCI offers protection against electrocution.