What is Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter(GFCI)? Use


What is Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter(GFCI)



The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or GFCI or GFI is an electrical safety or protective device that interrupts an electrical power circuit when a ground fault occurs. GFCI protects the devices from leakage current, ground fault and protect human from electrical shock. So, GFCI is very helpful for the prevention of leakage current, excessive heating, fire, electrical shock, etc.


How does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter(GFCI) Work?


Ground fault circuit interrupter works on the principle of residual current sensing. It continuously monitors the phase and neutral current. If the phase and neutral current are equal then there is no ground fault, the outlet also working properly. But when the ground fault occurs, the phase and neutral current will be unequal so the GFCI will detect that and interrupt the power supply. So there the risk of electrical shock will be eliminated.




GFCI Testing and Resetting


A GFCI has a reset button and a test button. The reset button is used to reset the GFCI in normal condition after resolving the fault. So, until the fault is not resolved, the GFCI can not be reset. 

The test button is used to check the function of the GFCI, whether it is working or not. Suppose, your GFCI has not operated for 1 year, now you don't know it is in good condition or damaged. So, in this condition, the test button helps a lot. You just press the test button, if your GFCI interrupt the circuit, then it is in good condition but if it is not interrupt the circuit, then it is damaged. It is good to check the GFCI monthly once by pressing the test button. Also, every time you should check with the test button before connecting any tools or machinery to the outlet.




GFCI Function


Generally, A GFCI can sense 4 to 5 mA leakage current or residual current. So, when the ground fault causes to flow the leakage current above 4 or 5mA, the GFCI will stop the power supply.

The response time of a GFCI is 2 to 3 mS. This means when the fault occurs, the GFCI will interrupt the circuit within 2 to 3 mS.




Types of GFCI


There are mainly three types of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter - 1. GFCI Outlet 2. GFCI Circuit Breaker and 3. Portable GPCI

GFCI outlets are standard power outlets with ground fault protection. It can protect any device or machinery plugged into it. Also, it can protect other normal outlets connected to it. But the GFCI outlets are rated for low power ratings.

A GFCI circuit breaker is designed for a high power rating and can protect an entire circuit. So, a ground fault in any part of a large circuit can trip the GFCI circuit breaker. A GFCI can be connected with the main incoming circuit breaker for additional protection.

Portable GFCIs are the cheapest and low-power rated devices. It provides the function to connect with any normal power outlets before connecting a device.



Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter(GFCI) Use and Applications


GFCI is mainly used with outlets where chances of water contact more such as kitchen outlets, bathroom outlets, outdoor outlets, etc. In washrooms or bathrooms, there is a very high chance of water contact to the power outlets. So there is a very high chance of electrical shock. In those places, GFCI must be used with power outlets. 

Portable Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter(GFCI) is used with different types of hand-driven gadgets, devices, tools such as hair dryers, trimmers, drilling machines, cutting machines, etc.




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What is Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter(GFCI)? Use What is Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter(GFCI)? Use Reviewed by Author on 9/14/2021 Rating: 5
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