What Are GFCI Outlets?
April 5, 2019
Outlets are everywhere in your home – and outside of it as well. Without them we’d be dead in the water when it comes to powering our devices and appliances. Although we just assume that outlets will be there at all times, have you ever noticed how some of them look different than others?
Some of the outlets in our home have a little light in the middle of them as well as a button. What’s going on there? Those are what’s known as GFCI outlets, and they can be a literal lifesaver, believe it or not. Follow along right here, and the electrical experts at Weeks Service Company will show you how these outlets can make a big impact in keeping you and your home safe!
What They Are
Regular outlets don’t have any distinguishing features. There’s just the plug, and that’s it. But these GFCI outlets are identifiable thanks to their reset button and indicator light. But why does a GFCI outlet need these things?
It’s because they have a special system inside of them that regular outlets don’t have. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter – this system automatically shuts the outlet down when it detects even the slightest change in the voltage entering and exiting the outlet. When it notices a difference, it cuts the power instantly to prevent a short circuit from occurring.
How small of a difference does it take to kill the outlet’s power? Hardly anything. If the GFCI outlet detects a difference of as little as 5 milliamps, it’s done. This is a miniscule change, but it’s vitally important to catch these potential short circuits before they can cause any damage to you or your home.
Why Do These Outlets Need Special Treatment?
What’s the reason these outlets have a built-in kill switch? Well, have you noticed where these outlets usually are? Most of the time, they’re going to be in places where short circuits could occur more frequently. This is usually around areas where water could be.
That means GFCI outlets are typically installed near sinks and other water appliances. They’re also on the exterior of your home, because water is obviously outside as well. When a circuit comes into contact with water, the voltage finds a quicker route to the ground and throws the circuit out of balance. If you’re touching the water while this happens, you’ll get shocked.
Should You Install GFCI Outlets in Your Home?
Absolutely. Unlike a circuit breaker, a GFCI outlet is self-contained and isn’t reliant on the circuit in your home as a whole. Your home should have these installed in places like bathrooms and the kitchen, and if they aren’t, then it would be smart to do so as soon as possible.
If your home is in desperate need of replacing outlets with GFCI models – or if you just need some GFCI outlets installed in your home, period, get in touch with us at Weeks Service Company! Our electricians can take care of this job in no time at all! Your family will have peace of mind knowing they’re protected from electrical danger.
Give us a call at 281-332-9555 to see how!