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Ground fault circuit interrupter & GFI outlets .

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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 11 May 2012 15:07

" Ground fault circuit interrupters , where are they in your house and why ? "


Ground fault circuit interrupter requirements , GFI

GFCI Requirements

ground fault circuit interrupter requirements have changed over the years . for a long time they were required to be only near areas where water and electricity would mix . Such as sink areas in your kitchen or bathroom or even in your locker room . While this code really helped to stabilize it fell short of addressing many other problems that could arise from the use of non-GFCI protected outlets . For example for years it was not required to have GFCI protection for a deck on the exterior of your home more than 8 feet off the ground . They then found that people were stringing extension cords to upstairs decks when a another outlet was not readily available . This caused the hazard as the outlet was not required to be ground fault circuit interrupter protected . As well garage door outlets were seen as a similar situation and even though they were in the garage were not required to be GFI protected . Another situation was crawlspaces . The outlets in the crawlspaces were not required to be protected but as time went by they realize that these areas are many times damp and wet from residual moisture from the outside . The code now requires all the above-mentioned outlets to be GFCI protected . GFI is just a shortened abbreviated term for ground fault circuit interrupter . In the kitchens it was once required that only the outlets directly adjacent to the sink need be GFI protected . Because many times you're in the kitchen using a blender or mixer where water is present but not necessarily adjacent to the think the code was expanded to include all counter-top receptacles . .

Don't see a GFCI ? It is still there !

The fact that a GFI outlet is not present at the outlet that you are having trouble with does not mean that the outlet is not GFI protected . We get calls every week from people who tell me that half of their kitchen is not working . There are two small appliance circuits feeding the average kitchen in America . This is required by the national electrical code . Because there are two circuits this means that there is no less than two ground fault circuit interrupter device is protecting the kitchen area . Because there are two GFI outlets protecting the kitchen area you can be sure that it happened the kitchen is not working that a GFI is the culprit . Now many times you can simply go to the GFI and reset it . This does not however mean that it is working properly . A GFI outlet can appear to be working properly but after a lightning storm has hit your local area the chances that something inside of the GFI is damaged are great . The best thing to do in this situation is not to simply reset the outlet but to replace it . Remember at the beginning of this page is spoke about how GFI outlets have cut household fatalities by nearly 50% since their incorporation into the marketplace . Because this is something that saved your life that is not something that you want to leave to chance . There is no telling the GFI will work properly after it has been subjected to a voltage surge . The best thing to do in this situation is to call a qualified Charlotte North Carolina electrician to come out and replace the devices in your home . This is something we do a Providence electric on a daily basis . Now certainly you could say that the technology needs to be more dance and I'm sure that over time it will be . But as for right now this is the best technology that we have available to save lives and protect the welfare of the public .

GFI outlets and further explanation

Why is there one GFI outlet that protects multiple outlets ? Well the simple answer is the GFI outlets are much more costly than the average outlet . A normal receptacle that goes into a home is about $.39 for a contractor to purchase . GFI outlets are close to $10.00 . As you can see percentagewise there is a vast difference between what a GFI costs and what are normal receptacle costs . GFI circuit breakers cost even more usually about 40 to $50.00 . Because of this price disparity GFI outlets are used sparingly . GFI outlets have on their yoke the ability to feed power in and control not only the power that goes out of the receptacle itself but another cable feeding multiple other outlets downstream . This capability is quite perplexing to the average homeowner . They come to a string of outlets and their kitchen or garage area or bathrooms and none of them work . There seems to be no apparent reason for this . Clear across the room on another countertop there is an outlet with the test and reset button on it . This tacit reset button is more than likely either fried or tripped . Doing some investigation can lead you to the source of the trouble . As I recommended earlier though the receptacle should be replaced if there is any suspicion of electrical surge or lightning over the past month or so . It may have in fact taken this long for you to notice the fact that these outlets were not working .

In the case of bathroom receptacles it can be even more baffling depending on the age of your home . As I discussed earlier in this article the codes have changed over the years and so there's really no telling where exactly your GFI outlets may be located inside your home or what receptacles they may or may not be protecting . If your home is older and built in the 1980s and you have a bathroom outlet problem the culprit is more than likely a receptacle in your garage ... Huh ! Yes that's right . I said receptacle inside your garage . As well in older homes built prior to 1986 the garage outlets , the bathroom outlets , and the exterior outlets are all fed off of the GFI device in your garage . This is particularly baffling to homeowners . The fact that all of your bathroom outlets would go out and the button is on an outlet inside the garage is really sort of ridiculous . This is something that you would never think of fixing . In addition many times over the years receptacles on the exterior of the back of the house were fed off of kitchen circuits . The kitchen circuit as you already know is required to be GFI protected . Because of this and because of the fact that it is a 20 amp extra heavy-duty circuit many electricians that the exterior rear outlet off the kitchen circuit for years . This is now illegal as well . However if you have a home that was built within a specific time. Probably 1992 the year 1998 this is a probable likelihood for you . Many homes are fed with GFI circuit breakers in the panel . This is another issue . These are very easily identified . As most people know to go to the electrical circuit box when they have a problem they usually see this device and check it out . Quickly find the problem and ending their headache . In the above aforementioned items this is not possible and it is much more likely to cause headaches for the homeowner and may cause even electrician to scratches head for a while trying to find the existing GFI device .

This concludes my article on ground fault circuit interrupters I hope that it is been informative and you are able to save yourself some time and money by reading it . If you read this article and try it out yourself and still cannot find a solution to your power outage in one area of your home please call Providence electric at 704-531-8881 . You can talk to me immediately Thomas J harp I am the owner and I am here five days a week 12 hours a day , thank you !


Last Updated on Sunday, 18 May 2014 20:43
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