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What Is a GFCI Outlet and Why Do I Need One

Posted on: January 27, 2015

What is a GFCI Outlet and why do I need oneDoes your morning routine include using a hair dryer or other electrical devices that must be plugged in? We’ve heard that we shouldn’t use these items in the bathroom our whole lives, especially around water (sinks and tubs or showers). But it’s a big inconvenience to leave the bathroom to find another outlet, and you usually end up using the outlet in the bathroom. This is why it is imperative to have a ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, outlet installed in any areas that are around any potential water hazards. A GFCI outlet is designed to protect people from electrical shock by tripping the circuit when there is an imbalance of current flowing from “hot” to “neutral”.

How A GFCI Works

In a GFCI outlet, the slot on the left side is called “neutral” and the slot on the right is called “hot”. The hole beneath them is called “ground” and when an electrical appliance is working properly, there is a steady flow of current from hot to neutral. However, when something goes wrong, like a device that comes in contact with water, electricity can flow from hot to ground through you, and can be fatal. In a case like this, the outlet recognizes a change in the flow of current and the circuit will trip to eliminate the risk of electrical shock.

Where To Locate GFCIs

GFCI outlets should be located wherever a potential water hazard exists. This includes the bathroom, kitchen, near pools or outdoor hoses, crawl spaces and unfinished basements. If you’re unsure of where to have them installed, give us a call and we’ll guide you in the right direction.

To find out more about the importance of GFCI outlets, or to have them installed in your home, give ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric a call today at 888-868-6667.

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