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Electrical Safety Ground Fault protection

3559 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 am an electrician by trade, I got my journeyman's card 30 years ago this year. I would like to add that all 120 volt garage and shop receptacles (with only one or two exceptions) are required to be protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI's.) They can be either circuit breakers or receptacles, like "Poppy" pictured. Concrete is a conductor, and you do NOT want to be lying on the garage floor if the drill or grinder you are using faults, and there is no ground fault protection.

Great thread, Poppy!
I'll look for a plate. An alternative would be to buy a Stainless Steel wall plate--they are readily available for decora. Nylon (as opposed to phenolic plastic) would also last longer--you just have to ask for them.
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