The Shocking Truth About GFCI Breakers

No GFCI breaker found on the exterior of a home during a home inspection by Examina Inspections

November 12, 2023

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Examina Inspections

The Importance of GFCI Breakers in Wet Zones Around Your Home

If you are looking to purchase real estate in Gibsons, BC, for investment, a vacation property or your new home, you may want to pay attention to the electrical safety of the property. One of the most important features to look for is the presence of GFCI breakers in wet zones, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and outdoors. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and it is a device that protects you from electric shocks by cutting off the power when it detects a ground fault. A ground fault occurs when electricity leaks from a faulty appliance or wiring and travels through a path that includes a person or a water source. This can cause serious injuries or even death.

In this article, we will explain what GFCI breakers are, why they are essential in wet zones, how to check if they are working properly, and what benefits they can bring to your home and your family.

What are GFCI breakers and how do they work?

GFCI breakers are special types of circuit breakers that are designed to sense very small changes in the current flow and react quickly to stop the electricity before it harms anyone. They are different from regular circuit breakers, which only trip when there is a short circuit or an overload that causes a large surge of current.

GFCI breakers work by constantly monitoring the balance between the hot and neutral wires in a circuit. If there is any imbalance, it means that some of the current is escaping through an alternate path, such as a person or a water source. This is called a ground fault, and it can be very dangerous. GFCI breakers detect this situation and cut off the power within milliseconds, preventing electric shocks or fires.

Why are GFCI breakers important in wet zones?

Wet zones are areas where water is present or likely to be present, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and outdoors. Water is a good conductor of electricity, and it can increase the risk of electric shocks if it comes into contact with faulty appliances or wiring. For example, if you are using a hair dryer in the bathroom and it falls into the sink filled with water, you could get electrocuted if there is no GFCI breaker protecting the circuit.

According to the Canadian Electrical Code, GFCI breakers are required for all receptacles in wet zones, as well as for some other specific locations, such as garages, crawl spaces, unfinished basements, spas, pools, and hot tubs. However, not all homes in Gibsons have GFCI breakers installed, especially older ones that were built before the code was updated. This means that many homes are not up to the current safety standards and may pose a threat to their occupants.

How to check if your home has GFCI breakers and if they are working properly?

When you are buying real estate in Gibsons, BC, you should always check if the property has GFCI breakers in wet zones and if they are working properly. You can do this by looking for the test and reset buttons on the breaker panel or on the outlet itself. The test button should be marked with a “T” or “Test”, and the reset button should be marked with an “R” or “Reset”.

During your home inspection, your inspector will always check if the property has GFCI breakers in wet zones and if they are working properly. The receptacles are tested during the inspection, by using a GFCI tester that creates a small ground fault, and verified that the receptacle has its power cut. If not, your licensed home inspector will recommend that a licensed electrician fix or replace the faulty receptacle. Having GFCI breakers in wet zones can save your life and prevent costly damages to your home. It is also a small expense that can increase the value and appeal of your property.

It’s also a good idea for homeowners to test their GFCI breakers regularly to make sure they are still working properly. Sometimes they can wear out or malfunction due to age, moisture, corrosion, or other factors. Testing them frequently can help you identify any problems before they cause any harm.

Conclusion

GFCI breakers are a must-have for any home in Gibsons, BC, especially in wet zones where water can increase the risk of electric shocks. They can protect you and your family from serious injuries or death by cutting off the power when they detect a ground fault. They can also protect your appliances and electronics from damage caused by power surges or fluctuations. Moreover, they can increase the value and appeal of your property by showing that you have followed the electrical code and taken precautions to ensure the safety and comfort of your family.

If you are looking for a reliable and professional home inspector in Gibsons, Sechelt, Pender Harbour or any other location on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, look no further than Examina Inspections. We are licensed by Consumer Protection BC and follow the standards of practice set by the Canadian National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. We use state-of-the-art equipment and software to provide you with a comprehensive and easy-to-read report on the same day as your inspection. Contact us today to book your inspection!

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