How GFCIs Protect You and Your Family So You Can Keep the Party Going!
Summer is all about spending time with family and friends outdoors - grilling up tasty food, soaking up the sunshine, playing in the pool, lounging on the porch to watch the fireflies as evening falls… all the best that the season has to offer. But no matter the activities of choice, the most important thing is to make sure everyone can enjoy them safely - which is what GFCIs are all about.
A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) is a safety device installed on an electrical circuit, usually in the form of a wall outlet or circuit breaker. It measures the electrical current in that circuit and shuts off the flow of electricity if it detects an imbalance or ground fault (when electricity leaves the circuit and travels through another conductive material such as water or even a human body).
In this way, GFCIs prevent electrocution, which is why they are necessary (and even required) where moisture is in abundance - and nowhere are they more important than in the pool and patio areas.
Pool Pump Power
The pump is essentially the heart of any swimming pool - it circulates water and chemicals to keep the pool clean and fresh and helps remove dirt and debris for a sparkly, spotless pool. And since they handle such massive amounts of water, pool pumps need very powerful motors, which need a very powerful electrical current.
Due to their immense power and proximity to water, all modern pool pumps are required by electrical safety codes to draw their power from a GFCI circuit. This applies to both hard-wired and plug-in pool pumps. A pool pump that isn’t protected by a GFCI is not only out of code but also extremely dangerous.
Poolside and Underwater Light Fixtures
The National Electrical Code also requires GFCI protection for all lighting in and around the pool. That means underwater light fixtures, lampposts, wall lights, floodlights, and any other lighting near the pool - whether they’re permanent hard-wired fixtures or plug-in lights. So one should always plug string lights or any other decorative lighting into a GFCI receptacle.
Electrocution can be fatal within seconds, so it’s of paramount importance to eliminate the possibility of an unprotected light source or appliance coming into contact with the pool or any water around it. GFCIs can shut off power within a fraction of a second - which can be all the time it takes to save lives.
Exterior Outlets and Ceiling Fans
Today’s safety standards and codes also require that other outdoor fixtures and outlets be GFCI-protected as well, especially within a certain distance from pools or hot tubs. This includes ceiling fans, particularly those that can be reached from the ground - electrical current can travel through the drawstring and into a person’s hand in some cases. GFCI wall outlets offer protection for outdoor appliances like electric grills, power tools, and stereos.
Most modern homes are already fitted with GFCI outlets and breakers, but some older homes may be lacking. But GFCIs can wear out over time and stop working properly, so homeowners would do well to have their home’s electrical systems inspected by a professional to find and resolve any vulnerabilities, risk factors, or out-of-code equipment.
About Trustworthy Electric
The friendly experts at Trustworthy Electric have served Montgomery, AL with pride since 1994. Their dedication to safety, honesty and superior service have earned them numerous 5-star reviews and satisfied customers. They offer up-front pricing, same-day service, and membership perks. Call now for electrical services!