Electrical Safety & GFCI’s – On the House

Electrical Safety & GFCI’s

By on November 14, 2015

Do the lights in your home often flicker or dim? Does your television picture shrink when an appliance goes on? Do you have extension cords strung all over your home due to a shortage of electrical outlets? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have an electrical accident waiting to happen and it is best to hire professional electricians such as those from Poss Electric | Experienced Electricians for guidance.

A flickering light may be something as simple as a light bulb not securely screwed into the socket. On the other hand, the flickering could be caused by a loose connection in the electrical panel or switch or light box. Tightening connections will usually solve the problem. If this is a task that you intent to tackle, it should be done ONLY when the main power is off. If electrical isn’t your cup of tea, your phone is the most appropriate tool. Use it to call in a pro.

A frequently dimming light is usually the sign of an overloaded circuit. This occurs when the load (power demand) on the circuit (wire and fuse or breaker) exceeds the amount of power that it is rated to produce. These electricians perth will give you a better idea. The light dimming condition often results with the surge of a major appliance such as a refrigerator. There are two solutions to an overloaded circuit: one is to remove appliances from the circuit and the other is to run additional circuits from the main service or sub panel.

You might be under the assumption that because a fuse isn’t burning out or a breaker isn’t popping that you aren’t overloading a circuit. Wrong! You may be placing just enough load on that circuit to overheat the wire, but not enough to pop the breaker or fuse. When overheated often enough, the wire can become brittle and the casing damaged and result in a short or, worse yet, an electrical fire. Although this can take many years to occur, it is almost sure to happen. It’s best to hire an electrician from a company like Red Star Electric to conduct an inspection of your electrical equipment and wiring and point out any potential issues.

An electrical short occurs when pair of hot wires or a hot wire and a neutral wire come into contact with each other. When electric current is allowed to flow through a path other than the one that it was originally intended to follow it, in essence, takes a short cut thus the term “short.” Worn out wire casings, cuts and other damage to the wire insulation are just a few of the causes. When a short occurs current overloads in the circuit causing immediate overheating in the wiring. What usually follows is a blown fuse (or tripped breaker).

When a hot lead touches a ground source such as a grounded appliance motor housing, a ground wire or some other grounded devise the resultant condition is known as a ground fault. In this case the current is redirected from the hot wire to the ground. This is because the ground has less resistance to electricity and therefore becomes an easier path for the electricity to follow.

It is safer for us to use an appliance or tool that is grounded. Theoretically, when a ground fault occurs the electricity is supposed to travel via the ground wire to the ground source not through the body. This theory is valid to some extent. However, if moisture is present the facts change. Water is the world’s best known ground source. And water makes it easier for electricity to pass through the body. When wet, we actually become a better ground than the ground wire in a three-wire circuit. This is why the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) was developed. Normally there is an equal balance between the current that travels in both the black hot lead and the white neutral lead. When a short or ground fault occurs an imbalance results that can be detected. When this happens a message is sent to the GFCI and it is tripped in one-fortieth of a second. That’s a short enough period of time so that most healthy persons would not be injured.

In the home, one of the safety features that many of us take for granted is the GFCI. Now you might see how important they really can be.

There are three kinds of GFCI devices: the plug-in type, the built-in outlet type and the breaker type. The plug-in type is easiest to install and is very portable. This makes it great for use in the garage and outside. The built-in outlet type guarantees that youngsters will use the GFCI protection and the breaker type, which is installed into the breaker panel, can be used to protect an entire series of receptacles.

In its first days electricity overwhelmed America with new conveniences and pleasures. Shortly thereafter we discovered that electricity could also kill. This notion was eventually followed by safety programs that flagged electricity as a convenient form of energy that was a danger without equal. Now, with proper fusing electricity can be safer for everyone.

A GFCI should be installed at all receptacles within 4 feet of a sink, at all exterior and garage receptacles and at all electric fixtures over showers and tubs. The average GFCI receptacle in a subdivision home is rated at 15 amps. Two hair dryers plugged into the same circuit will trip a GFCI breaker. The tendency is to remove the receptacle and replace it with a non-GFCI type. Don’t do it.

Hire an electrical contractor and have the electrical design and circuit upgraded to meet the demand you are putting on it. Removal of this safety device is just not worth the danger it poses to your loved ones.

For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.

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