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Learning About GFCIs

At Parker & Sons, we have long been one of Arizona’s leaders for plumbing and HVAC services. Recently, we have expanded our expertise to include electrical as well. We believe that having knowledge and information are keys to providing excellent service. Every member of our team of electrical professionals has years of experience and training to depend upon. As part of our series of blogs dedicated to sharing some of our electrical knowledge with you, your loyal customer, we are going to spend some time teaching you about GFCIs.

What is a GFCI

We have to start with the basics. GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. Essentially, ground-fault circuit interrupters exist to protect people from electrical shocks. In this way, they are different from standard fuses. Standard fuses are designed to protect individuals from home fires. If a “hot” or active wire were to touch a neutral wire, a massive amount of current would be released. This can lead to fires. Fuses absorb this energy to prevent fires.

GFCIs take this idea even further. If you look at an electrical outlet, you will see two vertical slots and one hole. One vertical slot is the “hot” one, the other is the neutral one. When you plug in an appliance, electricity flows freely and steadily between the two. A GFCI can detect even the slightest imbalance in this flow, with a sensitivity of 4-5 milliamps. It then trips the circuit ending the flow. It does this to prevent and surges of power and leaking energy which could cause fires of physical harm.

One of the most impressive things about GFCI outlets is that they can react in just one-thirtieth of a second. This is necessary to keep your safe, as electricity flows almost instantaneously. Every home should be utilizing ground-fault circuit interrupters.

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