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Everything You Need to Know About GFCI Protection

Everything You Need to Know About GFCI Protection

GFCI protection, also known as Ground Fault Circuit Interruption, is a life-saving safety mechanism that is often taken for granted. Before Charles Dalziel invented GFCI in 1961, hundreds of Americans were killed by electric shocks each year. With the widespread integration of GFCI protection, the number of deaths caused by electric shocks has plummeted to just a quarter of its former rates! As of today, the NEC (National Electric Code) requires GFCI protection to be installed in a wide variety of settings such as construction sites, entertainment venues, and even homes to keep people safe from electric shocks.

You can spot GFCI protection installed into portable power equipment and outlets that are in areas that are at a high risk of contact with water. Since contact with water can cause a receptacle to short circuit, GFCI is designed to carefully detect electrical faults, or imbalance in electrical currents. As soon as the GFCI device senses that something is off, it quickly stops the flow of electricity to prevent electric shocks. Now that we’ve given you a quick glimpse into GFCI protection, let’s spend the rest of this article looking into how GFCI works and investigating some common examples of GFCI devices.

Hoes Does GFCI Protection Work?

“Receptacles'' is the technical term that refers to the power outlets used for plugging in electrical cords. Our standard straight blade receptacles feature a larger slot located on the left of the receptacle known as a “neutral”. It also includes a smaller slot located on the right side of the plug that is referred to as the “hot” and a third hole placed in the bottom center of the plug that is called a “ground”.

When an appliance is plugged into the receptacle, electricity flows out from the hot, through the appliance, and back into the neutral. Think of an electrical circuit as a loop of electricity that infinitely circulates throughout your power system. If the electrical current begins to fault, or goes off its intended path, it will take the path of least resistance and flow to ground rather than the neutral wire! Luckily, GFCI can “sense” irregularities in the electrical circuit as small as 4 milliamps and acts in as little as 1/10 of a second to stop the flow of electricity.

This is good news because our muscles freeze after contact with 10 milliamps of electricity. When this occurs, our muscles involuntarily contract and make it very difficult to let go of the object that’s causing electrical shock. Also, 10 milliamps of electricity can cause death after only two seconds of exposure. With this in mind, there’s no questioning that GFCI protection is a lifesaver!

Common Examples of GFCI Protection

Another key advantage of GFCI protection is its ability to cover all downstream equipment that is connected to the GFCI protected outlet. In other words, if a fault occurs anywhere along the downstream circuit, the GFCI will trip and cut off power to all connected devices. Popular GFCI devices include GFCI receptacles that are installed into portable power equipment, portable GFCI outlet adapters, standard GFCI outlets, and cables that feature GFCI protection.

The 50A, 120/240V “RhinoBox” Spider Box by Arrow Hart is an excellent example of how GFCI can be used to enhance the safety of portable power equipment. This Spider Box includes (6) 20A GFCI protected duplex receptacles so that you can connect several devices simultaneously without any safety concerns. Plus, all its internal components are safely housed in a NEMA 3R rated enclosure so you can safely use this Spider Box in rainy outdoor conditions. Thanks to its exceptional safety features, our Spider Box is the preferred choice for venues such as concerts, sports arenas, convention centers, and construction sites to provide you with safe power distribution.

Portable GFCI adapters and cables with GFCI protection are an easy and affordable way to add a boost of protection to any outlet. Both of these options are compact and lightweight, making them perfect for on-the-go. Because of their versatility, portable GFCI adapters and cables with GFCI protection can be used for an endless variety of applications such as camping and RV trips, catering events, food trucks, and even birthday parties.

Standard GFCI receptacles are the type of outlet that can be found in your home’s bathrooms and kitchen. The easiest way to identify if a receptacle is GFCI protected is to look for the hallmark “test” and “reset” buttons located in between your outlet’s sockets. Since its circuit protection is wired into the receptacle itself, the “test” button is designed to make sure that the receptacle has maintained its ability to close the circuit. After you’ve completed your test, you can use the “reset button” to reopen the circuit and continue using the outlet.

By using GFCI protection, you can take a proactive approach to electrical safety. Each of the power solutions featured in this article can be found at We offer free shipping with each online order over $500 that is being shipped within the continental United States. If you have any questions or need help finding the products you need, please contact us using the live chat on our website and a friendly ATI Representative will be happy to assist you!



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