Circuits, Wiring & GFCIs
- 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!
- 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.
- This chart will give you an idea of how much of a load common appliances produce on household circuits.
- Disconnect immediately if an appliance blows a fuse, trips a breaker or emits sparks or sizzling sounds. Discard the appliance or have it repaired.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
What are they?
GFCIs work by detecting slight variations in current. If a short occurs, a GFCI will trip in a fraction of a second. 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 to use?
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters 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.
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.
Making it a habit to turn off lights that are not being used is a good way to avoid wasted energy. Find more helpful ways to save.