What Is a GFCI?

Posted on: November 9, 2015

If you’re ever a contestant on Jeopardy and you’re asked what a GFCI is, you can respond by saying, “What is a ground fault circuit interrupter.” But knowing what GFCI stands for doesn’t mean you understand what it is. You’re not alone—the average homeowner is unaware of what a ground fault circuit interrupter does, but when your house’s ground fault is compromised, it can put the entire property, and your family, in danger.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

A ground fault is an electrical path between a power source and a grounded surface. While all electrical devices and appliances are “grounded” to ensure they can be safely operated, devices can still lose their grounding and divert electrical currents to the nearest channel that provides a path to the ground: you. That’s why you need ground fault circuit interrupters in your home.

You’ve probably seen GFCI and never given them a second thought. They’re a common safety feature found on your electrical outlets that can be identified as two small buttons located in between the two sockets, the GFCI’s function is to constantly monitor the power current flowing through a circuit. At the first sign of a discrepancy between the current flowing into the outlet and the return current, it intervenes by shutting off the power to the outlet.

Benefits of Installing a GFCI

Ground fault circuit interrupters are an important preventive measure in your home, and GFCI installation offers the following advantages:

  • Shock prevention – While an obvious benefit, a GFCI’s purpose is to prevent shocks and electrocutions, making your Florida home safer for you and your family.
  • Fire prevention – Ground faults are often the cause of electrical fires. Installing a GFCI ensures ground fault detection, limiting the chance of an electrical fire in your home.
  • Appliance protection – As soon as your GFCI outlet detects a discrepancy in the electrical currents, it shuts it down—preventing appliances from being damaged by electrical leaks.

If you have additional questions about electrical outlet safety, contact Hoffman Electrical or check out our FAQ.

Call Hoffman Electrical—Hillsborough & Pinellas County Electrical Experts

If you’re ready to protect your home from the dangers of ground faults—Hoffman Electrical can help! Our experienced electricians at Hoffman Electrical have been serving the Tampa and St. Petersburg area with professionalism and integrity since 1989. Call the experts at Hoffman Electrical at 866-238-3243866-238-3243 or schedule an appointment today!