You and your family depend on wall receptacles to power today’s lifestyles, but providing safe electricity is usually an afterthought. Electricity can be tricky, with some conditions forcing electrical currents to take an unforeseen route to the ground. That is where GCFI technology can help to protect your family and home. These safety devices not only shut down power to prevent you from getting seriously hurt from electric shock, but they can also reduce or prevent some electrical fires. Whether you plan to install new wall outlets or upgrade existing components in your house’s electrical system, getting a trained technician to complete the work ensures it gets done correctly the first time.

The Electricity in Your Wall Receptacles

North American homes receive 120 volts (with a 7.2-volt fluctuation in either direction) from the power grid. It is in the form of alternating current (AC) that reverses direction as it moves through the wires. Residential mains panels have at least a 100 amp rating, with many modern houses getting 200 amp panels as the standard.

Once electricity reaches the breaker panel, it passes through wires to outlets and switches inside of your home. Each wire has a current rating based on the breaker the wire connects to. The breaker trips when the current exceeds its limitations, protecting the circuit from overloads.

These circuits allow electrons to flow into and from a wire like a highway. An electricity circuit must supply a pathway to the equipment and a return to form a closed loop. Home electrical systems provide a ground, creating a return path for the current running through the wires. You may hear this called earth ground, as the earth your house sits on provides the return path.

Grounding is used on exposed parts of electrical equipment to prevent failed wires from increasing the voltage potential of those components. The problem is your body is a good conductor of electricity and might become part of the closed circuit under certain situations. That is where GCFI technology can help keep you, your home, and your powered devices safe.

We can help assess your needs by inspecting your current equipment. Our trained technicians understand your residential system from the panel to the outlet and everything in between. You will get detailed information about what repairs, upgrades, and new installations your house requires to meet current safety and user needs.

Ground Faults

A ground fault happens when the electrical current does not follow the intended path to complete the circuit and instead takes an unintended pathway. The new route offers limited or no resistance, increasing the flow and speed of the current.

Ground faults pose a danger because the return path now includes the equipment plugged into the outlet, adding the person operating the equipment to the return circuit. It can result in burns, shocks, fires, and even fatalities.

Water leaking into the box, conduit, or puddled near appliances can often cause ground faults. Electric devices or power tools that become damaged or lack proper insulation also create ground faults.

Other causes we have seen and can help with directly include debris inside boxes, damaged wires, loose connections, and improper wiring. You do not want to wait until after a ground fault occurs to protect your family and home; one of the best preventative measures against ground faults is using GFCI equipment.

Our technicians are certified and trained, providing you with the experience needed to identify potential ground fault issues on your property. We can inspect your current equipment and provide you with options to repair, upgrade, or install components that will protect your family, home, and devices from ground faults before they occur.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Technology

The best protection available against ground faults is a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). These devices constantly monitor the current flowing through a closed circuit. If more electrons flow into the loop than return, it interrupts power to prevent the ground fault. GFCI technology can detect differences as small as 0.006 amperes and will trip in one-tenth of a second.

The ability to sense these changes is due to magnetic fields. If the flow is the same in both wires, the generated fields will cancel one another out. A difference in electron flow will alter the magnetic fields, and it is that difference that triggers the GFCI device.

The speed at which GFCI technology activates is quicker than a heartbeat. That will prevent electrical burns and shocks that can severely injure a person or interrupt their heartbeat and kill them.

These devices can also sense low current grounding caused by arcs between hot and neutral wires, shutting down power. Damage from abrasion, improper installation, and rodents can expose wires that either touch or have a small gap between them. A GFCI breaker could sense the arcing and shut down the circuit before fire conditions peak.

Ground fault circuit interrupters come as receptacles or breakers, which we can install for you as part of your home’s surge protection. You can even have us upgrade your older two-prong outlets with GFCI protection. Electrical cords are also available with GFCI protection built-in, allowing you to protect yourself on areas of your property away from ground fault interrupt circuits or outlets.

Where Should You Place GFCI Protection?

Our certified and highly trained technicians understand the National Electrical Code (NEC) and other governing code requirements. That allows them to identify where and when GFCI protection is necessary. Some places NEC requires GFCI circuits or outlets in your house include basements, bathrooms, crawlspaces, kitchens, laundry rooms, and other areas with sinks. Outdoor GFCI is mandatory for multifamily dwellings, receptacles beneath eaves of roofs, and outlets installed 150 volts to ground or 50 amps or less.

Examples of other outlying areas not classified as dwellings that may need GFCI protection include:

  • Boathouses
  • Outlying bathrooms
  • Non-dwelling crawlspaces
  • Exterior locker rooms
  • Detached workshops
  • All wet areas

Our technicians have experience working on all parts of a property. We can inspect your home and outlying buildings so that you know which options are available for repairs, upgrades, or completely new installs of GFCI devices.

Are GFCI Circuit Breakers or Receptacles Better?

We can inspect your property to help you decide what type of GFCI device meets your needs. If you need a bathroom receptacle to bring your home up to code, that is a more economical alternative. GFCI protection at the breaker box covers all fixtures, outlets, and switches on that circuit, which provides more extensive coverage. You will not need GFCI receptacles on a wire protected at the breaker box.

We Can Help With Your Electricity and More

We can help you repair, install, and maintain the components of your home’s electrical system, including ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) technology. Our services also include work on your HVAC systems and plumbing. We provide the experience, training, and certifications homeowners seek in a company they hire to work on their property. We have you covered from emergency services to the help you need to realize your home improvement projects. Contact Thermo Direct today and discover why customers rave about our cooling, heating, electrical, and plumbing services in Raleigh, NC and the surrounding areas!

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