GFCI's Protect Your Home So You Don't Have To!
Check out the outlet in the bathroom or kitchen. Does it have a TEST and RESET button? If so (and it should be so), it's a GFCI outlet. GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter, which means that a GFCI will cut off power if it senses an influx in electricity. Electrical problems can happen for several reasons, but one of the most dangerous is when the outlet is introduced to water. Not only will water cause an influx in electricity, but it will also travel through anywhere the water touches.
This is why bathrooms, kitchens, porches, decks, and pools need to have GFCI protection. Whatever the cause, a GFCI will be on the job to keep everyone safe around the clock.
Pool Pump Motors Require GFCIs Regardless of Where They Are
Pool pump motors are required to have GFCIs. Why? Because if a pool pumps motor malfunctions while someone is swimming, electricity can travel through the water and electrocute the swimmer. Electrocution often causes paralysis and can cause the victim to drown. Should this occur, it is critical to know exactly where the outdoor circuit is to turn it off immediately. Do not try and help the victim until the power is turned off, as electricity can pass through them to another person.
Electrical code has changed over the years and caused some confusion around GFCI requirements for pool pumps. Requirements today specify any 15 or 20 amp outlet, with 125 or 240V, single-phase outlet is required to have a GFCI. These requirements extend to both cord-and-plug and hard-wired connections regardless of the location of the pool pump motor.
Light Up the Pool Safely This Summer
One should install GFCI outlets with any lighting near or inside the pool as well. Have an electrician assist with code requirements when installing new fixtures.
- General lighting around the pool area must be a certain distance away from the inner pool walls, both horizontally and vertically. It's very important to ensure all fixtures are firmly mounted to avoid them coming loose and possibly falling in the pool.
- Underwater lighting has strict requirements as to the wiring of the GFCI outlet and the grounding of the light fixture. Contact a local electrician if there are any questions or concerns concerning existing or new lights.
GFCI's Keep Your 4th of July Deck Party Safe
An outdoor fan and inside fan may look similar, but they have different requirements because of where they are mounted. A GFCI breaker is required anywhere that a unit could get wet. That includes fans and light fixtures above, on, and around the deck, porch, and patio.
Outside lights, fans, and other appliances can come in contact with some pretty rough weather. Rain, snow, sleet, and hail mixed with strong winds will likely find their way to outdoor fans and lights one way or another. The unpredictability of water penetration is why electrical code is so strict regarding where GFCIs are required. Ultimately, the goal of a GFCI outlet is to protect people from electrocution, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
About Edison Electric, Inc.
Edison Electric, Inc. is employee-owned and operated, and the owners are not afraid to get their hands dirty! All electricians are lifelong students, making sure they are up to date on all codes and best practices to provide Minneapolis, MN customers the best service possible. Call today and experience their world-class electrical service!