Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are circuit breakers installed at the panel to provide ground faulty protection for the whole circuit. Circuits with GFCI’s need to have fuses or breakers to shut off the electricity in the case of an overload. GFCI’s receptacles are currently required in the United States for bathrooms and washrooms, outdoors, in garages, above counters for a kitchen sink or wet bar, and in unfinished basements and crawlspaces. They are typically installed to protect against electrocution in areas where a person is susceptible to grounding hazards, such as wet locations and when using equipment outside.
There are three types of GFCI’S that can be used in residential properties:
1. The receptacle type is used in place of the standard duplex receptacles found throughout the house. Some GFCI’S may protect other outlets down line in the same circuit. Sometimes the protected outlets will be in different rooms. For example, if an outlet in a patio does not work you should check other locations such as baths or the garage for a tripped GFCI which protects the entire circuit.
2. The circuit breaker type is installed in the electric panel and protects seledted circuits. Although there are limits to the number of outlets protected sometimes a single wire will run from the breaker, through the house, to bathrooms, kitchens and ouside locations protecting each of these.
3. The portable plug in type may be used in area where permanent protection is not available such as with extension cords for power tools operated outside from an unprotected circuit.
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