Electrical currents allow modern homeowners to enjoy the appliances and fixtures that make life more convenient. Most homeowners don't give their electrical systems much thought, but these systems could serve as a source of serious injury should they malfunction.
Electricity can leak from your home's wiring or outlets. This leakage will attempt to find a way to travel back to the ground. A ground fault is the result of the unintentional path of electrical travel between the source of the current and the ground. Your body could serve as the unintentional path for a ground fault if your home is not protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
GFCI devices constantly monitor the flow of your home's electrical current. The GFCI will automatically switch off power to a circuit or outlet that shows signs of current loss. Current loss is typically sensed by a difference in the amount of current flowing out and returning to a given circuit.
GFCI devices can be installed in your home to provide maximum protection against electrocution, burns, electrical fires, and other dangers associated with irregular current flow.
All homes constructed after 1971 are required to be equipped with GFCIs in order to pass building codes. Older homes that have not had an electrical system upgrade usually aren't equipped with GFCI outlets.
An experienced electrician can install receptacle GFCIs within your older home. These receptacle models replace existing outlets, and they provide protection against ground faults for a single outlet only.
Circuit Breaker GFCI
A home's electrical system can be regulated by either fuses or a series of circuit breakers. If your home is equipped with a circuit breaker box, then you can have an electrician install a circuit breaker GFCI right in the panel box.
A circuit breaker GFCI provides protection for more than just a single outlet. All of the electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, and appliances connected to the circuit will be monitored by the circuit breaker GFCI.
Both ground faults and circuit overloads will trigger the GFCI to cut power to the circuit. Homeowners can avoid serious electrical injuries and protect their electronic devices against power surges when circuit breaker GFCI devices are installed in the electrical panel box.
Upgrading your home's electrical system can be costly. Portable GFCI devices can be used to provide you with the protection you need against ground faults if you are unable to pay for an immediate electrical upgrade.
A portable GFCI device contains all of the necessary GFCI circuitry within an enclosed plastic case. Plug blades are on one side of the portable GFCI device, and receptacle slots are on the other. The portable GFCI plugs directly into your existing outlet and serves as a go-between for the outlet's electrical current and any electronic items plugged into the GFCI device.
Portable GFCIs offer temporary protection against potential electrical injuries, but these devices should not be viewed as a long-term solution. Receptacle GFCI devices can offer ongoing protection for your family, so work toward replacing any portable GFCI devices with permanent receptacle devices in the near future.
The presence of GFCI devices in your home could help you avoid catastrophic electrical injuries or death. The National Institute of Health estimates that 1,000 people die as a result of exposure to electrical shock each year. These deaths may be prevented with the help of GFCI devices that automatically eliminate errant electrical currents.
If you want to create a safer and more reliable electrical system within your home, contact Nicotri Electric, Inc. We can install GFCI devices throughout your property to reduce the risk of electrical injuries.