The GFCI outlet
The GFCI outlet (Ground Fault Interrupter) socket is a special device used to disconnect power from defective electrical appliances and reduce the risk of an electric shock if it is wired correctly and tested on a regular basis – Did you know- for new wiring installations it is now mandatory in residential and other types of installations (code rule 14-102) to have this device, the GFCI outlet installed where there is plumbing (a sink) close by – like in a washroom, a laundry room or even outdoors where the risk of being hurt, injured or electrocuted from a piece of defective electrical equipment exists? In May 2012 the Electrical Safety Authority begin enforcing this new code requirement.
How and why this outwardly simple looking device work?
When the electronics detect current in part of its design it reacts by operating its programed defense mechanism which in turn shuts off the power to the socket where the defective electric device is connected (or fault condition is detected). This situation in-turn affects any downstream wiring (plug sockets or item connected to that wiring). The GFCI outlet is identical to the regular sockets outlets, except for 2 buttons on its front face, one to operate manually its trip function and the other is its test button it is normal to see the manufacturer’s instruction for monthly tests, which is highly recommended to ensure its proper functionality in the event of a situation where it’s proper operation will most likely prevent someone from being injured or even electrocuted when it operates.
Manufacturers recommend that you test these devices on a regular interval – typically every month, this ensures it is always in working order in the event a faulty piece of equipment is used on the circuit with a correctly wired GFCI outlet.
Not because it should shut the power off in the event of a fault you can play around with the device – is is man made and could fail at any time – always be cautious with electrical devices.
[there are also ‘blank-face devices or circuit-breaker] that operate similar to that outlined above. Visit our knob and tube wiring page.
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