Expert Electrical

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters: What are They and How Do They Work?

Nov 14, 2018 | Electrical Safety, Licensed Electrician Tips

Many homes have ground fault circuit interrupters installed in power outlets, but few people understand what they are and how they work. Ground fault circuit interrupter outlets (or GFCI outlets) greatly reduce the risk of electrocution by cutting off the flow of electricity in the case of a fault in the circuit. At Expert Electric, we put the safety of our customers first, which is why we offer services in GFCI circuit installation and other residential electrical services and commercial electrical services that are designed to keep you safe.

How do Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters Work?

Ground fault circuit interrupters monitor the flow of electricity running through an outlet and, if there is a fluctuation in that flow, they cut off the supply of power. When a person is electrocuted, they act as a conduit for electricity to flow through into the ground. This draws power from a circuit. By comparing the amount of power flowing out of an outlet with the amount coming back in, a GFCI can detect when any unregulated electricity leaves the circuit. If the GFCI outlet senses that electricity has left a circuit improperly, it cuts off the supply of power within 1/40 of a second, which prevents severe electrocution. The person may still receive a shock, but ground fault circuit interrupters prevent that shock from being lethal.

Why Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters?

In most provinces, it is a legal requirement to switch out regular power outlets with GFCI outlets in many areas of a home or business. Rooms with moisture, like washrooms and kitchens, must have ground fault circuit interrupters installed for safety. GFCI outlets help to prevent electrocution and can save your life if an electric appliance or outlet is malfunctioning.

To receive assistance installing ground fault circuit interrupters or learn more about these life-saving safety features, or if you are interested in any of our other residential electrical services or commercial electrical services, please contact Expert Electric at 604-681-8338.