GFCI and Other Protected Outlets

Posted by Christopher Hahn on

More and more frequently, you may be hearing about a different type of outlet called a GFCI outlet. What is it? What does it do?

20 amp household GFCI outlet

GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. This means the electrical circuit is tripped every time there is a ground fault or leakage of current. You will most likely see this type of outlet installed in a bathroom or kitchen, or wherever else there is usually lots of moisture and running water. These outlets turn off the power in hundredths of a second even if there is only an imbalance of a few milliamps.

There are other safety precautions out there that work in a similar way to a GFCI. One you may see around the house built-in to hairdryer plugs is ALCI, which stands for Appliance Leakage Current Interrupter.

hair dryer ALCI plug

Another that is designed in case an appliance gets unintentionally immersed in water is IDCI, which stands for Immersion Detection Circuit Interrupter. A few others you may have seen are:

LCDI, which stands for Leakage Current Detection and Interruption.

AFCI, which stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter.

GFPE, which stands for Ground Fault Protection of Equipment.

RCD, which stands for Residual Current Device. This one is the name used in the UK.

Again, they all do pretty much the same thing. The biggest differences are in how they operate and what types of appliances or tools they are used for.

If you need help identifying an outlet and it’s safety features, please reach out to us with a phone call, text, or email.

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