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According to an article published in ePlasty, the annual number of electrocution deaths in the US has dropped from 800 to 200, mainly due to the use of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). GFCIs are outlets designed to prevent electrical shock. As the name implies, the GFCI interrupts the flow of electricity when it detects a ground fault. A ground fault occurs when the current takes a different path to the ground and in some cases, that “ground” is a live person. Malfunctioning or damaged electrical equipment are the primary causes of ground faults.

An easy solution is to make sure your home is equipped with GFCI outlets, especially in areas with access to water such as the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. If an appliance or tool such as a blow dryer or electric sander gets too hot, the GFCI will intervene and shut off the current, thus preventing electrical shock. In many regions, local codes mandate GFCIs, and GFCI usage has been implemented in the National Electrical Code as far back as the late 1960s. Portable GFCIs are available for areas such as garages and workshops or when using outdoor power tools.

The good news is that GFCI outlets are reasonably priced and can be found online and in big box and hardware stores. One of the downsides of GFCIs is that they are easy to trip. Also, they need to be checked frequently to make sure they are working properly and reset after use. On average, you can expect your GFCI outlet to last for about 10 years.

You can install GFCI outlets yourself or hire a licensed electrician to do it for you. The electricians at Safe Electric will visit your home and recommend areas where GFCI outlets will improve safety and protect your electrical appliances and gadgets. Call us at 614-267-4111 to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to discuss your needs and make recommendations for upgrading your electrical system. Your satisfaction and safety are our top priorities.