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What Does a GFI Do? Electrical Problems

Greg Vandenberge

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 3 votes

In your bathroom you should have a GFI electrical outlet. Most new homes or newly remodeled homes require you to have GFI electrical outlets in the kitchen. Most older kitchens do not have GFI electrical outlets. GFI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter.

Why not call it a GFCI instead of a GFI electrical outlet? Well it is called a GFCI in some instances. GFI is short and is the most common name used by most electricians and builders for this type of outlet.

GFI ‘s come in 15 amp and 20 amperage outlets. GFI outlets must be wired properly. Make sure you're using the proper wire size when hooking up the GFI outlet.

How do I know which size wire to use? This all depends on how far away you are running it from the electrical panel. There are charts you can use to figure this out. If you are not running the electrical wire more than 80 feet from the electrical panel you can use 12 gauge electrical wires for a 20 amp GFI. This is a general rule of thumb for most electrical house wiring.

If you're going to be using a 15 amp GFI and you are going to be less than 80 feet away from the electrical panel you can use 14 gauge electrical wires. Again this is just a general rule of thumb for most electrical house wiring.

A GFI is a light duty electrical plug used in bathrooms, kitchens and the exterior of your house. The sole purpose of the GFI is to shut the breaker off faster if there is any moisture or light load problems.

Let's say for instance you have your hair dryer plugged into the GFI outlet. The hair dryer somehow falls into the sink while it is on or plugged in. The GFI outlet will instantly shut off because of the sensitivity of the breaker inside of the plug it self.

The GFI plug has a test button and a reset button on it. If you are continually resetting the GFI you will wear it out eventually. I have had GFI plugs after resetting the button about 10 times break and no longer able to use them.

The GFI electrical plug is a great idea and if you don't have them in your bathroom or outside of your home it would be a great idea to have an electrician install them for you.

Greg Vanden Berge is working on the internet to promote the education for creating simple to follow guides and home building books to help professional building contractors as well as the weekend warriors. He is currently working on more Home Building Library and adding useful content to help solve problems created by the lack of construction knowledge in the building industry.

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