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Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

How GFCI Outlets Make Your Home Safer

If you live in an older home, you may have outdated power outlets. We don’t just mean outlets that aren’t powerful enough to run the various appliances (although that may be the case). We mean outlets are not as safe as they could be. To help prevent dangers from high voltage electrical shocks, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom, you should have GFCI outlets installed. Call up a professional electrician to arrange for replacing your older outlets.

What are GFCI outlets?

Have you noticed outlets inside homes and buildings that have two buttons between the sets of prongs, one marked test and the other reset? Those are GFCI outlets. They work in a fashion similar to circuit breakers, which is to cut off the flow of electricity in case of an emergency. However, a circuit breaker panel is designed to protect the electrical system in a home from damage; a GFCI outlet is designed to keep people from injury.

The way a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet stops people from harm is by monitoring the flow of electricity from the hot side of the outlet to the neutral side. If there is a fluctuation between the two, with less power coming in to the neutral side, it means that some electricity is escaping through an appliance and reaching the ground—likely passing through a person. When the outlet detects this change between the two sides, it trips a fuse and cuts off the power. The reaction time is almost immediate, resulting in the person feeling only a quick shock before the electricity cuts out.

You should have GFCI outlets installed in your kitchen and your bathroom, two areas where electric appliances can easily come into contact with water and result in high-voltage shocks. It’s also a good idea to have these outlets installed for the major bedrooms in the house.

This isn’t a do-it-yourself project: you must have licensed electricians handle the installation so the GFCI outlets protect your household and don’t create a new hazard. Call on Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical in Los Angeles, CA to schedule this service.

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