What is a GFCI Outlet and Why Do You Need Them?

Home electrical fires are devastating. In the United States, they contribute to approximately 280 deaths and an estimated $1 billion in damages each year. These distressing events could be prevented, however, by a GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.
Ground faults are unintentional paths between a grounded surface and the electrical source. A common example of a ground fault is when a small appliance is defective and the electrical components of that appliance are no longer protected from contact, resulting in a shock or spark that can lead to a fire. These faults are serious and can cause burns, fires, and deadly electrocutions.
What is a GFCI?
GFCIs are essential safety devices that help block the flow of dangerous electrical currents from ungrounded sources. These can be installed in your home and are most commonly used in kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms, etc. They are common in areas where there is water present. While most appliances and cords have built-in GFCI protectors, having them installed in your home is more effective.
Why Your Home Needs GFCIs:

  • Shock Prevention: GFCIs prevent electrical shocks. They have built-in sensors that can block the flow of electricity from appliances. Even if the appliance has a defect, the GFCI will block the electrical current so that you are not shocked by the live wires.
  • Fire Prevention: GFCIs block ground faults. Because ground faults are what cause an electrical fire, a GFCI protects your home from this hazard. GFCIs are one of the most basic fire prevention tools you can install in your home.
  • Appliance Damage Prevention: Expensive appliances such as a refrigerator or washer/dryer unit can be damaged permanently from ground faults. Because insulation of their wires breaks down over time, the leakage of electrical currents could slowly damage the appliance over time. GFCIs prevent this from happening, regardless of insulation breakdown. The second a GFCI detects a leak, it shuts down the circuit and prevents damage.

Only a professional electrical contractor should install GFCI outlets. Because they are a complex safety device, it is imperative they are installed correctly to prevent fires, electrocutions and appliance damage.
Speak with an electrical contractor in the New Jersey area today to learn more about GFCI outlets. JLC Electrical Contractors can help assess your home and install the appropriate GFCI outlets to protect your home and your belongings. Call us at 732-332-1100 or fill out our online form.

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