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Electrical Circuit Safety

Electrical Circuit Safety

Safety Tips for Circuit Breakers

  • Branch circuits - Never overload branch circuits by operating more appliances than the circuits were designed to handle. Remember: several outlets are usually connected to one branch circuit.
  • Fuses/breakers - Use correct size fuses and breakers for circuits. Size refers to a circuit's amperage rating. If you don't know the rating, have a qualified electrician identify and label the sizes to be used.
  • Trips - Disconnect immediately if an appliance blows a fuse, trips a breaker or emits sparks or sizzling sounds. Discard the appliance or have it repaired.

What is a GFCI?

GFCIs work by detecting slight variations in current. If a short occurs, a GFCI will trip in a fraction of a second.

What are the different types of GFCIs?

There are three types of GFCIs:

  • Circuit breaker-type GFCIs installed by qualified electricians go directly into an electrical panel to replace ordinary circuit breakers.
  • Receptacle-type GFCIs installed by qualified electricians resemble ordinary electrical outlets and can be tested and reset at the outlet.
  • Portable GFCIs can be plugged directly into any receptacle and do not require special knowledge to install.

Where do I use GFCIs?

GFCIs should be installed where water is present (such as in bathrooms and kitchens), or where easy contact with the ground can be made. However, even with GFCIs, you must still exercise extreme caution around water.

How do I know if my GFCIs are working?

Never modify or bypass a GFCI. Test GFCIs periodically to see that they are working properly. Do this by pressing the red "Test" button on each GFCI.