Does your home or business have the necessary GFI switches in place to make it safe and avoid code violations? GFIs can greatly improve safety in a number of scenarios by making sure an electrical current isn’t going anywhere but the circuit it’s intended to move along — but many Maryland homeowners don’t even know what they are.
What Is a GFI Switch?
GFI stands for ground fault interrupter, sometimes known as a GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupter. A GFI outlet keeps track of how much current is passing through the circuit, and when the current going out and the current coming in don’t match, it cuts the circuit extremely quickly.
You’ve likely seen these in a kitchen or bathroom before, even if you didn’t know what they were called: They’re the outlets with “reset” and “test” buttons, where you’ll need to push the reset button to get current again.
Why Do You Need A GFI Switch?
A GFI switch is a safety mechanism designed to prevent shocks, electrical fires, and damage to electrical devices. They’re most commonly found in a kitchen or bathroom, because those are the places you’re most likely to be unplugging and plugging in electronic appliances regularly, especially with added risk factors such as water.
For modern construction, they’re required or recommended to be installed in most places where you’re likely to be working with different appliances regularly: kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, outdoor areas, etc. They’re less necessary in bedrooms or living rooms, where you’re mostly using the same appliances in the same outlets without a bunch of swapping or any risk factors such as moisture.
Does your home have enough GFI switches — or any at all? Call the pros at Wenbrooke Services to evaluate your GFI switch setup or install new ones. Reach out online or call us at (240) 394-1500.
GFI Switch Installation
A GFI switch is a self-contained mechanism; the ground fault detection and shutoff take place inside its receptacle. That means they can easily be retrofitted into any existing outlets you have, and when they’re wired correctly, they actually protect anything else on the same circuit. If you have multiple outlets in a circuit, a single GFI switch can protect any outlet downstream of it and cut the circuit all the same.
Risks of Not Having GFI Switches
If you don’t have GFI switches in place, it means your home is either running very old electrical circuits or is out of code, for starters. Modern building codes require GFIs in all the areas we mentioned earlier: kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, and outdoor areas where you have outlets. You’ll notice these are all locations where you might encounter water, as a GFI can be crucial for preventing electrocution or electrical damage to your home or devices if an outlet gets wet.
If you don’t have GFI switches installed in these high-risk areas, it’s very dangerous, to say nothing of its effect on the value of your home. A GFI first and foremost exists to prevent fatal electrocution, so without GFI switches in place, that’s the exact risk you’re taking on.
Why Leave It to a Pro?
Installing any outlet can be a bit dangerous if you’re not comfortable working with electricity, but this isn’t the only reason to leave it to a pro. Setting up GFI switches to work effectively and protect downstream outlets requires a bit more understanding than just swapping a standard outlet to a GFI. And when you’re installing a safety device, it’s worth it to make sure it’s actually installed correctly and functioning, as a false sense of safety is worse than no safety at all. Your Wenbrooke Services technician will make sure your GFI switches are installed correctly in the proper places in your home.
Call the team at Wenbrooke Services for professional GFI switch installation. We’ll make sure your electrical system operates safely and meets local code requirements. Call today at (240) 394-1500 for service.