How a GFCI Can Protect You at Home and Off Site
A break in the low-resistance grounding path from a tool or electrical system will result in a ground-fault, and electrical current can instead take a path through the user to the ground. This unfortunate occurrence will result in either severe injuries or death.
A GFCI is a rapidly activated circuit breaker that can shut off electric power when there’s ground-fault in 1/40th of a second. It functions by measuring the amount of current traveling to and from equipment along the circuit conductors. If their amounts differ by about five milliamperes, the GFCI will interrupt the current.
A GFCI is designed to trip fast enough for the prevention of electrical incidents. Proper installation and maintenance will ensure that current it cut the instant a faulty tool is plugged in.
Unfortunately, if the grounding conductor is not low-impedance or intact, a GFCI may not trip until a path is provided by the user. Although he or she will get a shock, the GFCI should trip fast enough so that it won’t be harmful.
A GFCI will not offer protection from line contact hazards, such as a person grasping a couple of “hot” wires, holding a neutral and hot wire in each hand, or touching an overhead power line. Nevertheless, there will be protection from a ground fault, the most typical electrical shock hazard. Moreover, it will protect against overheating, fires, and damaged wire insulation.
For using power tools off-site, below are three types of GFCIs:
Incorporating a GFCI device within one or more receptacle outlets, the receptacle types are increasingly gaining traction due to their affordability.
Coming in a number of styles, portable type GFCIs are made for ease of transport. Several models can use existing non-GFCI outlets or connect via a cord and plug configuration. Portable types feature a no-voltage release device that will cut power to outlets when a supply conductor is open. Outdoor GFCIs are built with waterproof enclosures to withstand the elements.
An attachment plug featuring the GFCI module, the Cord-Connected Type protects the cord and other equipment attached. It also has test and reset buttons. Similar to the portable type, it also has a no-voltage release device.
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