Whether you’re remodeling a kitchen or bringing your home up to electrical code before a sale, GFCI’s can be important. There’s also a tremendous safety benefit to having GFCI’s even if you haven’t been told you need them. So what are they, and why should you have licensed San Francisco Bay area electrician install them?
GFCI’s (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters) protect people against electrical shock. To do this, they monitor imbalances between the current entering a circuit and returning to it. Think of it as a device that monitors “leaks” in an electrical system by measuring the amount of power in and out. Short circuits, bad appliances, and electricity contacting water all cause "leaks", and leaks are dangerous when it comes to electricity.
How a GFCI works
GFCI's test for these leaks using internal circuitry measuring power in on the "Hot" conductor and returning to the electric panel on the Neutral conductor. A change in the current-in vs. current-out balance as small as 5 milliamps shuts downs the power supply in as little as 25 milliseconds. Fast enough to prevent a severe shock.
GFCI’s aren’t foolproof, but they save millions of dollars in property and countless lives each year. In order to make sure that they perform their function, you must have them installed properly by a licensed electrician.
How to test a GFCI
GFCI’s should also be tested periodically by pressing the “TEST” button on the face of the outlet. If the device doesn’t turn off or reset, you need to replace it immediately.
Generally speaking, GFCI's shoudl be installed anywhere with a potential for severe shock. This includes (but isn't limited to) bathrooms, kitchens, outdoors, in unfinished basements, in crawlspaces, and anywhere exposed to moisture. Our electricians are familiar with all local codes, and can tell you where GFCI's are required by law whether your electrical work is done in San Francisco, Oakland, Mill Valley or San Mateo.
You probably have lots of questions about GFCI’s, and our qualified electricians are glad to help. We can explain where they are required by law, and how you can determine if the electrical system in garage, bathroom, kitchen and basement is properly protected by GFCI’s.
Call us today for fast, professional service from a licensed, insured electrical contractor who understands customer service. We want to hear from you!