Spring Cleaning Home Owner Safety: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

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Mr. Electric shares the importance of ground fault circuit interrupters for home owner safety

The device is an inexpensive investment that could mean the difference is life or death to you or one of you family members.

With less than a week until the official first day of spring, it's time for home renovations and spring cleaning. Before breaking out the electric tools and cleaning supplies, home owners should make sure the house is equipped with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). A GFCI, an inexpensive electrical device designed to protect people from electric shocks by interrupting the flow of electric current, is one of the most important safety devices in your home.

“Many electrocutions that occur in the home could be prevented if GFCIs were installed in every home,” Jeff Meyers, President of Mr. Electric, said. “The device is an inexpensive investment that could mean the difference is life or death to you or one of you family members.”

An unintentional electric path between a source of current and a grounded surface is referred to as a "ground-fault." Ground faults occur when current is leaking somewhere, or electricity is escaping to the ground. If a person’s body provides a path to the ground for this leakage, it could lead to injury, burns or electrocution.

In the home's wiring system, the GFCI constantly monitors electricity flowing in a circuit, to sense any loss of current. If the current flowing through the circuit differs by a small amount from that returning, the GFCI quickly switches off power to that circuit to prevent a lethal dose of electricity. To comply with the National Electrical Code, GFCI protection is required for most outdoor receptacles, bathroom receptacle circuits, garage wall outlets, kitchen receptacles, and all receptacles in crawl spaces and unfinished basements.

“A GFCI should be used whenever operating electrically powered garden equipment (mower, hedge trimmer, edger, etc.], and with electric tools [drills, saws, sanders, etc.) for do-it-yourself work in and around the house,” Meyers said. “Mr. Electric wants you to be safe while you work.”

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Becca Broaddus
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