No one in their right mind wants to be electrocuted. Currently in the United States, electrocution is the fourth leading cause of occupational fatality, and in all, about 60 people die each year from electrocutions associated with consumer products like small appliances, power tools and lighting equipment. For the most part, these senseless fatalities can be prevented by installing GFCI outlets.
What’s different about a GFCI outlet?
A GFCI outlet is designed to protect people from electrical shock. The way it does this is by monitoring the flow of electricity from the right “hot” slot to the left “neutral” slot, and if there is any imbalance in current flowing from “hot” to “neutral,” the GFCI trips the circuit. This specialized type of outlet is able to detect an imbalance of as small as 4 or 5 milliamps and can trip in as little as one-thirtieth of a second! After the GFCI is tripped, you can re-energize it by simply pressing the reset button.
So when the GFCI becomes tripped, the power is cut off and the person who has become a “ground fault” – a connection between the ground and the electric conductor – is saved from electrocution. Every year, GFCI outlets save hundreds of lives.
Where do GFCI outlets need to be installed?
If you don’t have GFCI outlets in your home already, you should at the very least have them installed in the following locations:
- Laundry Room
- Home Exterior
What all of these places have in common is the higher probability of your electrical circuits coming into contact with water. Water creates an imbalance of electricity from the “hot” slot to the “neutral” slot, and instead of flowing from “hot” to “neutral” to “ground” like the current should, it can flow from “hot” to “YOU” to “ground,” which is a very serious and potentially fatal issue.
Whether or not you understand the specific science of how these life-saving outlets work, it should be clear that your safety depends on having them installed. Any electrical work is a job for a professional, so call Kelly Electric when you’re ready to make your home a safer place.