Home Inspection Montreal

Can GFCI protect you from shock?

⚡️ What is GFCI and how does it work⚡️?

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. It detects the interruption in the flow of electric current. For example, let’s suppose 1 amp is flowing through the black (hot) wire, but only 0.995 amp is coming back through the white (neutral)wire. It means 0.005 amps (5 milliamps) current is leaking somewhere else. That somewhere else could be your body. The GFCI senses that difference in current and quickly shut-off the circuit (within 20-30 milliseconds), significantly reducing any possible human tissue damage from leaking current. 

FYI: The current as low as 10 milliamps can freeze human tissues, which means you will not be able to let go the object causing shock. Only 2 seconds at that level of current can cause death.

Where to provide GFCI?

Current codes require GFCI where the water can come into contact with electricity. This includes receptacles for bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor (within 8 feet of ground), wet bars, laundry tubs, spas and hot tubs, whirlpool baths, swimming pools and unfinished basements.

How to identify a GFCI?

What should I do as a homeowner?

A GFCI outlet can be easily identified by the TEST and RESET buttons on the outlet.

The very first thing that you have to do is to make sure that your house has ground fault protection at desirable locations. The second thing you have to make sure the device is working correctly.

How to test if the GFCI is working?

You can buy an electric circuit tester from any home reno store, or you can plug something into the outlet, such as a phone charger or hairdryer and then press the test button on the receptacle. If the device stops working, your receptacle is wired correctly and is in good working condition. Do not forget to reset the receptacle and make sure the power is back on. Some older outlets do not reset after testing, which means you need a new outlet.

Note: If the outlet trips very often, contact the certified electrician.

GFCI Present & Working (Powder Room)

GFCI Missing (Rear Balcony)


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