A ground-fault circuitinterrupter, or GFCI, is a device used in electrical wiring to disconnect acircuit when unbalanced current is detected between an energized conductor anda neutral return conductor. Such an imbalance is sometimes caused by current"leaking" through a person who is simultaneously in contactwith a ground and an energized part of the circuit, which could result inlethal shock. GFCIs are designed to provide protection in such asituation, unlike standard circuit breakers, which guard against overloads,short circuits and ground faults.
It is estimated that about 300 deaths by electrocution occur every year, so the use of GFCIs has been adopted in new construction, and recommended as an upgrade in older construction, in order to mitigate the possibility of injury or fatality from electricity.
GFCI plugs or circuits should be installed in all bathrooms, plugs that are within 3 feet of kitchen sinks,at wet bars and on the homes exterior. GFCI plugs are fairly inexpensive but should be change out by a qualified electrician to ensure safe and properinstallation.