“GFCI stands for Ground Fault Current Interrupter and it is a device that saves lives by shutting off the electrical current when a ground fault is detected. GFCI devices are used in electrical outlets and circuit breaker boxes in the home. While regular breaker boxes will trip a breaker, thus interrupting the current when a ground fault is detected, it is designed more to prevent fires because it does not always interrupt the current before the ground fault is detected. For example, if you are in the bathtub and someone drops a hair dryer into the water, you will most likely be electrocuted. While the breaker will most likely trip, thus preventing a house fire, the most important element, you, have already been injured or killed.
When GFCI devices are installed, the device senses that there is a problem and interrupts the electrical current before it can seriously injure or kill you. For this reason, GFCI devices are mandated in newer homes in bathrooms and within six feet of where water is being used. Although water is the most dangerous culprit, it is not the only one and if you are remodeling your home, installing GFCI devices in your electrical outlets just makes good sense because they are inexpensive, easy to install, and they save lives.
You may have notice GFCI outlets in newer buildings and homes. You’ll recognize them by the red and blue buttons, which are for resetting and testing. GFCI devices should be tested periodically to ensure they are working properly. These devices should also be installed in the garage and outside to keep you safe when you are doing outside chores and hobbies.
You can (and should) also install GFCI in circuit breaker boxes to protect you and your family from serious shock and fatality from electrocution. While you don’t have to be a licensed electrician to install the receptacle type GFCI devices, only licensed electricians are allowed to install the circuit breaker type GFCI. It is worth serious consideration, though, as this would ensure that every outlet and every lamp, appliance, or whatever you have plugged in would be protected and not be able to cause harm to your family.
Not only will the circuit breaker GFCI shut off the electricity before you or your loved ones could be electrocuted, it will also shut off the electricity if there is a short in the circuit or a power overload. This protects your home and your family in another important way, by preventing deadly fires that could occur while you are sleeping or away from your home.