Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
You would have grown up seeing your grandparents often replace fuses or in recent times reset circuit breakers when there was a sudden voltage surge or current fluctuation in your homes.
In generation next, these fuses and circuit breakers are fast replaced by what is known as Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters or GFCI. These devices are also referred to as "complete shock solutions" as they prevent you from being electrocuted. A GFCI can be a circuit breaker or a receptacle.
With Atlanta, Georgia now being home to almost all the major corporations in the world, there is a huge inflow of young executives in the city who are always short on time. Do you know that when in a hurry to leave for work, you can do (or not do) some silly things that can even cost you your life? For example, you may be eating toast and eggs for breakfast and in a hurry to power off the toaster, you may use a metal spoon or knife to shut down the device; without even realizing that you are actually completing an electric circuit that can cause shock or even electrocution.
In another scenario, you or your baby or you may have spilled water on the floor or there could be a leak in your apartment that you haven't found time to repair. Again, standing on the wet floor with naked feet is another recipe for disaster that could be prevented, by using a ground fault circuit interrupter.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters History
According to National Electric Commission, more than 300 people in US lose their lives every year due to electrocution. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters were introduced in 1970's to prevent electrocution.
As per the latest guidelines of the National Electric Code (NEC), electricians need to install "smart lock" kinds of GFCI receptacles in your home and offices.
Purpose of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
These devices are designed to detect even the smallest leakage of current, say about 5-30 mille-amperes. They operate within a very short time frame of about 1/40th of a second to interrupt the current flow. They contain a differential current transformer that works by studying the current balance between two conductors.
To protect your family from the hazards of electrocution, GFCI receptacles should be installed by an electrician in wet locations, near water. Additional location are bathrooms, home exteriors, unfinished basements or crawl spaces, kitchens, garages, laundry, wet bar sinks as well as in boathouses and near swimming pools. A larger Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter of about 500A capacity is useful in preventing electrocution when placed near utility structures and other buildings.
According to NEC, the installation of a GFCI can assist in reducing the risk of electrocution by 70%.
Install a GFCI in your home or business today, as it will help in detecting ground faults, prevent electric fires and also protect your family from electric shocks, burns and electrocution by blocking the flow of current.