Ground/Arc Fault Circuits

Ground/Arc Fault Circuits

Most homeowners in the Bloomington and Rochester communities know that the pros at EarlyBird Electric are here 24/7 to provide fast and affordable professional electrical service. So they do not worry about understanding too many technical terms related to the electrical service in their homes. However, knowing a little about what could become a very hazardous situation if you don’t understand it or overlook some vital warning signs is essential. So prepare to learn a bit more about faults and short circuits to protect your home and loved ones from a severe electrical shock or a life-threatening electrical fire.

What Is A Short Circuit?

A short circuit occurs when any hot current, or electricity, can stray away from the electrical wiring intended to transport it. For example, the electricity could be traversing the neutral wire or going to ground. Either of these situations causes a loss of resistance and a sudden increase in volume. Ideally, this is also when a circuit breaker trips and stops the flow of power to eliminate the potential for injury or damage to your home.

What Is A Ground Fault?

A ground fault is a specific type of short circuit that allows electricity to come into contact with a ground. Again, the loss of resistance causes a sudden spike in volume, and the circuit breaker should trip to avoid a catastrophe. This process is very rapid and can result in a severe electrical shock. For added safety, GFCI devices are required to prevent injuries in moist areas where these types of faults could easily occur. The GFCI reacts more rapidly than a breaker to prevent a severe shock hazard because it covers only a fraction of the wire running from the breaker to the outlet, allowing a faster reaction to the fault.

Where You Should Have GFCI Outlets In Your Home

Knowing that a GFCI outlet is a simple and affordable solution to hazardous electrical shocks, you now will want to know precisely where these life-saving devices should be installed in your home to ensure the safety of your loved ones. While the list is long, do not be overwhelmed, as some of these locations might not apply to every home. But the EarlyBird Electric pros want to ensure that our valued customers have a complete list of GFCI locations to keep their homes and loved ones safe.

  • Outside Your Home includes outlets on the house’s exterior for holiday lights, on BBQ islands, near the pool or spa, and in outer outdoor entertainment areas. Installing a weatherproof cover is also a wise investment.
  • Bathrooms – The entire environment in a bathroom can become moist due to a steaming hot shower. So be sure to install GFCI outlets throughout the space for added safety.
  • Garages – Most garages stay pretty dry. But there is always the potential for a leaking roof or other events like a leaking water heater or burst water line that can create unexpected moisture. So invest a few extra dollars in installing GFCI outlets and know everyone will be safer.
  • Kitchens – The electrical code requires all outlets within six feet of the kitchen sink or on the counter area to be GFCI-protected. However, it is a wise investment to include any outlets under counters or on a kitchen work island that could become the victim of a spilled glass of water or other liquids.
  • Laundry Rooms – The electrical code also requires all outlets within six feet of a laundry room utility sink or washing machine to be GFCI-protected. However, it is essential to remember that a leaking pipe in this small area could shower all the walls and surfaces with water before you even know there is a problem. So adding a few more GFCI outlets is never a bad choice.
  • Basements – Even if your basement is unfinished, GFCI-protected outlets are smart choices. If the space floods or a water line freezes and burst, you will be glad to have the added protection and peace of mind.
  • Crawl Spaces – If you have an outlet and light in your crawl space, be sure it is GFCI protected. Not only is this area the most likely to flood if there is a water-related issue in your home, but it is also the most susceptible to condensation and moisture as the climate changes.
  • Radiant Floor Heating Systems – Living in a sometimes frigid climate, our customers often use radiant floor heating to take the bite out of our cold winters. But many forget that it is essential to have that heating system protected from accidental spills and other water issues with GFCI protection.

What Is An Arc Fault?

An arc fault occurs when loose or corroded wire connections spark or arc to create heat and the potential for an electrical fire. The arc fault is typically the predecessor to a ground fault or short circuit but is not likely to trip a breaker or GFCI device. It is vital to know that arc faults are the reason you could hear buzzing, hissing, or humming from a light switch or outlet. And they are warning signs that something is wrong inside your home’s electrical system.

When You Notice That Annoying Buzzing…

When you are relaxing at home, and the house is finally peaceful, you might suddenly notice an odd buzzing. It is faint, so you try to overlook it and continue to decompress from the day. But the more you try to ignore the sound, the more it radiates in your brain. So you get up and try to locate the source to eliminate it. Unfortunately, it is coming from an outlet or light switch and is not stopping. DO NOT return to the couch, and promise to call 612-236-9052 tomorrow.

Instead, call the experts at EarlyBird Electric immediately. We have a licensed electrician standing by 24/7 to handle these issues for our valued customers. So explain the matter to a professional, and rest assured that we will locate the problem and have it repaired quickly before that tiny buzzing turns into a fire or results in a life-threatening electrical shock. Knowing the sound of an arc fault could avoid a life-changing event for you and your loved ones.