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What a GFCI Outlet Is (And Why You Should Care)

A new GFCI electrical outlet.In our previous post, we delved into what exactly can cause your electrical system to get overloaded when you add holiday lights, and talked about the outlets that would most likely be affected by this overload—the GFCI outlet.

The fact is, there have been many changes in the electrical usage of homes throughout the country, with most households consuming at least double the electricity than ever before, even without adding on holiday lights during this time of the year. It’s vital, then, that your electrical wiring and system stays current with this rise in consumption—and this includes outlets.

Should you discover or suspect you need an outlet upgrade or some other type of electrical work, don’t hesitate to contact our team of professionals for electrical services in Coeur d’Alene, ID. In the meantime, read on to learn more about this GFCI outlet, and why you should care about it.

More About the GFCI Outlet

GFCI, or ground-fault circuit interrupter, outlets, are most commonly seen as an outlet with two buttons between the sets of sockets, with one marked as “reset” and the other marked as “test.” This outlet was developed and is used for homeowner safety, as it helps to prevent you from suffering from high voltage shock. There’s a common misconception that this is actually the job of the circuit breaker panel, but that panel is there to protect the electrical system, not members of your household.

GFCI outlets measure the voltage from the hot side of the socket to the neutral side, and if there is an imbalance there, it means voltage from the “hot” side is going into the ground—likely through a person. What the outlet does is it immediately trips an internal circuit that cuts off the voltage so that harmful electrocution never has the chance to occur.

We advise that you have GFCI outlets installed in any area of your home that might be met with water. This includes all bathrooms, the kitchen, laundry room, and your basement. Our technicians can make educated recommendations for where else these outlets should be installed in and on your property, and we’ll also ensure your home is up to the local electrical codes.

The Other Type of Outlet

The other type of outlet seen in modern homes is the AFCI outlet, or arc-fault circuit interrupter. A danger with any type of outlet is the potential for electricity to arc between wires and trigger an electrical fire. If you’ve ever noticed any scorch marks on your outlets, it’s very likely due to arcing.

An AFCI outlet is designed to combat them, stopping a potential arc and preventing fire. These outlets are recommended for rooms in your home such as the family room, dining room, living room, your bedrooms, closets, and hallways. There are also outlets that utilize both GFCI and AFCI properties all in one. If you have any questions, we’re happy to assist!

ACI Northwest is here to help with your home comfort needs or concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us for helpful advice.

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