Protecting Your Family with a GFCI Outlet
One of the best and most cost-effective things you can do for your safety is to have a GFCI installation performed. Short for “ground fault circuit interrupter,” a GFCI is designed to prevent shock. This differs from fuses and breakers, which are designed to prevent electrical fires due to circuit overload.
A GFCI is much more sensitive than your typical outlet. In most normal 120-volt receptacles, there are three slots: one for the outward flowing current, one for returning, and another to ground it. With a standard receptacle, there would be no way to know if the electricity is returning back to the outlet in the event of an incident such as a wet appliance or electrocution. With a GFCI, the amount of current flowing through each prong is measured and if there’s even the slightest imbalance, then power to the receptacle is cut within fractions of a second, potentially saving lives.
GFCI outlets are ground-fault circuit interrupters. These outlets contain test and reset buttons on them, and they are used to help prevent electric shocks. Codes require GFCIs in all homes, so older homes may need to update outlets to GFCI outlets to keep their homes safe.
The electrical code requires you to have GFCI outlets installed in bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor areas because these areas often get wet. The GFCI outlets’ built-in feature ensures safety. For example, if you were to blow dry your hair and dropped the dryer in a sink filled with water, the GFCI outlet would shut off the circuit to prevent electric shock.