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  • Writer's pictureRD Energy Solutions

What is a GFCI and how does it work?


GFCI Plug

A GFCI, or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, is an essential safety device that helps prevent electrical shocks and fires. It works by constantly monitoring the flow of electricity in a circuit and instantly cuts off the power if it detects even a slight leakage of current to ground. This leakage can occur when a person comes into contact with a faulty electrical appliance or if there is a fault in the wiring.


The importance of GFCIs in your home cannot be overstated. They are particularly crucial in areas where water and electricity are in close proximity, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and outdoor outlets. A GFCI can detect a ground fault as small as 4 to 6 milliamps, which is enough to cause a potentially fatal shock.


In RVs and during outdoor activities, GFCIs are equally important. RVs often have electrical systems that are subject to vibrations and moisture, increasing the risk of ground faults. Similarly, outdoor electrical equipment, such as power tools or extension cords, can be exposed to wet conditions, making GFCIs a necessity.


GFCIs work by constantly monitoring the flow of electricity in a circuit. If the current flowing out of the circuit differs from the current flowing back in by more than a few milliamps, the GFCI detects a ground fault and immediately cuts off the power. This rapid response time, typically less than 1/40th of a second, can prevent serious injury or even death from electrical shocks.


Installing GFCIs in your home, RV, and outdoor areas is a simple yet effective way to enhance electrical safety. They provide an additional layer of protection against electrical hazards, giving you peace of mind while using electrical appliances and equipment.


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