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Electrical Safety Ground Fault protection

3557 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  johnday
Every outdoor outlet should be on a ground fault protected circuit breaker. Basement outlets, and any outlet near a kitchen or bathroom sink should also be protected.

A ground fault happens whenever electricity escapes the confines of the wiring in an appliance, light fixture, or power tool and takes a shortcut to the ground. When that short cut is through a human, the results can be deadly. About 200 people in the U.S. alone die of ground faults each year, accounting for two-thirds of all electrocutions occurring in homes.

To prevent such accidents, Charles Dalziel, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, invented the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), in 1961.

Before Home depot started selling commercially available Ground Fault Protected extension cords, I made a couple of my own. It changes a single outlet extension cord into a duplex ground fault protected one. Really handy for using more than one tool or for playing the radio while working with electricity. I also use one with my outdoor lighting decorations etc.

can you tell the difference between mine and the commercially available one?

That's right... mine has been used a lot more. :rolleyes:


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I just completed wiring my barn. 100 amp underground service. I've been doing wiring for quite a few years, but could still learn a few things.
One trick, if you will, is wire all your overhead lights and garage door openers, with #14, or 15 amp Romex. You don't need GFCI protection on those circuits. Then run #12, 20 amp, for all your outlets, using GFCI type breakers. Those seem to be better than the receptacle type. I've had a number of the receptacle types trip when there was no apparent problem. What happens is that those are more susceptible to moisture, and will trip where a circuit breaker type won't.
If IRC, any reachable fixture in a garage, barn, shed, exterior, etc has to be GFCI protected.
Now, say you have a welder that needs 50 amp going to it. You don't have to GFCI protect that circuit, since it's a dedicated circuit. Much like having a freezer in the garage. If you were to use just a single outlet, rather than a duplex, it doesn't require GFCI either. The older GFCI's, like in the handybox, were terrible for tripping when you plugged in a drill, or other portable power tool in, and tried running it. The newer ones are a bit better.
Don't get me wrong, when dealing with "lekturk", err on the safe side. And if you have any doubt, STOP, let someone that knows what they're doing take over. That stuff can kill ya'.:smilewinkgrin:
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