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What Is a GFCI Outlet?

Like all other systems in the home, residential electrical systems have come a long ways since their inception. One of the problems with older electrical systems is that many were never grounded properly. Ungrounded electrical outlets and connections can be very dangerous and cause serious harm to both the inhabitants of a home and the home itself. Newer homes – those homes built in the 1970s and forward – typically have grounded outlets, but many houses built prior to that do not. A grounded outlet is a special type of outlet known as a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) and it helps keep your home and you safe from electrical shock.

Acts Like a Circuit Breaker

You can easily recognize a GFCI outlet by its face plate: each outlet has three prongs on the top and the bottom, and there are two buttons between the top and bottom plugs labeled “test” and “reset”. The way a GFCI outlet protects is very much the way a circuit breaker protects your electrical system in your home’s electrical panel, but the action is specific to unintentional electrical paths. The problem develops when parts of an ungrounded electrical system are somehow damaged, from corrosion or other type of issue. This makes these parts vulnerable to unintended contact, and ungrounded electricity will always try to find a path, much the way lightning makes a path during a thunderstorm. Unfortunately, humans can serve as that path, leading to electrical shock – but not with a GFCI outlet. The outlet is designed to shut all power down immediately the instant it detects any deviation in the level of electricity flowing to the outlet as well as re-direct any excess electrical flow to a safe, neutral ground.

If you are concerned that your home’s outlets may not be grounded, give the electrical experts at D’Spain Sales & Service, Inc., a call. We can schedule you an appointment for GFCI installation for your home in Bandera, TX.

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