Look at any home or business listing and you’re likely to see an acronym that may be slightly unfamiliar: GFCI.
While you may understand that this refers to the electrical outlets, you may not quite understand how they’re different from other types of outlets, or why they’re a selling point for a home.
Let’s look at what GFCI is first, then we’ll explore why they’re important to have in your home or business:
What Is GFCI?
GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter.
At its most basic, it is designed – when used properly – to protect you from electrical shock when there’s too much current.
When there is an imbalance between incoming current and outgoing current, the GFCI is designed to break the circuit and protect from shock or fire. GFCI outlets also detect ground faults and disrupt the flow of current.
They should not, however, be used in place of a fuse. GFCI outlets offer no protection against short circuits or overloading.
GFCI outlets have three holes, as opposed to a non-GFCI outlet’s two holes.
The top two holes are for the neutral and hot wires of your device. The third hole serves as a ground wire.
Your GFCI outlet constantly monitors the flow of current through your outlet. If a change in the flow of electrical current is detected, the GFCI immediately stops the flow of electricity.
This immediate stoppage protects you from electric shocks and burns that can result from too much current passing through an outlet.
Why Is It Important to Have GFCI Outlets?
GFCI outlets are a simple safety precaution.
If you are using a hairdryer near a sink full of water (please don’t do this, by the way), and you drop the hairdryer into the water, the GFCI senses the disruption to the electrical current and cuts the power for safety.
Having GFCI outlets in your home is important to protect you and your family against shocks and burns, and to keep your outlets and electrical appliances from starting fires.
They are especially important for outlets near water – sinks and showers, for example – as these areas pose their own unique threat of electrical problems.
Beyond having GFCI outlets for your safety, building codes require the installation of GFCI outlets in all businesses and residences.
If you build a new home, you will need to install GFCI throughout the home. If you own an older home and want to upgrade the electrical system, you will be required to install GFCI.
For many older homes, having GFCI outlets is a sign to homeowners that the electrical system has been upgraded within the last few decades. It gives them peace of mind knowing they’re protected against some electrical dangers, as well as saves them money from having to upgrade the outlets and electrical system themselves.
Independent Home Inspections in Maryland
At Inspections by Bob, we don’t just limit our inspections to the big stuff. We look at the details to find out what’s really going on inside your home. From checking the foundation to looking in the closets, our thorough home inspectors give you the information you need to make your home purchase with peace of mind. Schedule your inspection today!