What is GFCI Preventative Maintenance Mechanical Draft Venting
What is GFCI?
For those that have never heard of GFCI, it stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt. GFCI is a device that can protect you from electrocution should you come in contact with lethal current on a circuit where the GFCI is located. In order for a GFCI device to work it must be installed correctly and can only protect the part of the circuit from where the GFCI device is installed. A GFCI device is designed to constantly monitor electrical current (the flow of electrons through a wire) for both the hot and neutral conductors. It does this by measuring both conductors at the same time. The current flows through each conductor in opposite directions thus canceling each other out therefore reading zero current between the two conductors. Should the current flow change as a result of someone being electrocuted, the device would detect the change and immediately disconnect the circuit to remove the hazardous condition and possibly saving your life.
Three types of GFCI devices used in residential buildings are the GFCI circuit breaker, the GFCI receptacle, and portable GFCI device. The GFCI circuit breaker is designed to protect an entire circuit whereas the GFCI receptacle will only protect from that device on down to the end of the circuit and the portable is designed to protect users of appliances connected to that device. GFCI devices have a test button that should be used to test for proper operation of the device at least once a month. If a device does not trip or properly reset, it should be corrected immediately.
Current building codes require new construction and remodeling to install GFCI devices that service receptacles in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages and on exterior walls of a building along with other areas that may be associated with wet conditions such as wet bars, pools and spas. What about older homes and buildings that do not have these GFCI devices or have them in sparse areas? Building codes only govern new work and therefore older buildings, built before such safety protocols, are unprotected. This does not mean the building is safe. GFCI devices are safety devices that save lives, but they were developed far after older homes had been built. What should be done for buildings that lack the proper GFCI devices? I recommend that all homes have GFCI devices protecting any areas that are prone to wetness such as, but not limited to, garages, bathrooms, kitchens, exterior outlets, pools, spas or any other area as dictated by the authority having jurisdiction.
Scott Olsen Handyman Services operates in the New York State Capital region covering Schenectady county, and parts of Albany and Saratoga counties, providing local handyman, home repair, home maintenance, remodeling and renovation services for the following municipalities:
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