GFCI Breaker Working Principle, Testing and Tripping?

GFCI Breaker Working Principle, Testing and Tripping?

What is a GFCI circuit Breaker

The term GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. It is a special type of outlet which has a breaker inside it.

Uses and Importance of GFCI Circuit Breaker

This type of circuit breaker is usually used in kitchens and bathrooms. It is also used where the electricity is used near water, for example near pools.

If a person using any electrical instrument in a kitchen or bathroom and due to any reason the current flow surges and pass through the body into water, GFCI trips quickly.

It’s fast tripping procedure makes a high chance of saving the life, and can save from bearing high electric shock.

GFCI not only protects the single instrument or the life of a person but it also protects the entire circuit from burning when the short circuit occurs.

GFCI are extremely important for saving the life. So don’t leave your home missing the GFCI where the electrical instruments are in use. They are important for the wellbeing of the home occupants.

Note that it will be a good strategy to call an electrician before switching the electricity back on. In this way the main error will be found by the electrician reduces the chances of short circuit again.

How Does GFCI Circuit Breaker Work?

A normal GFCI works in the following steps

When any electrical conductor comes in contact with water and current passes through it into the water, the GFCI senses the differences in flow of electricity coming into the circuit and going out of it.

When it senses the differences in current, the circuit breaker present inside the GFCI trips quickly. It also senses the small currents even in milliamps. Which means that whenever the difference of only 1 or 2 milliamps detected, it breaks the circuit.

They are simple and easy to apply in home. If one GFCI circuit breaker is installed in the breaker box, it will protect all the appliances, wirings and other electrical devices connected to the circuit.

Types of GFCIs

Three types of GFCIs are known these days commonly.

The most familiar of which is the receptacle type GFCI. These days the use of GFCI receptacle has become very common.

 GFCI circuit breakers are also used in the place of normal circuit breakers and they give protection to all the appliances connected to the circuit.

GFCI out lets and simple GFCI circuit breaker are the other types.

Difference between Circuit Breaker and GFCI

GFCI and the circuit breaker are the two separate electrical instruments. Both do the same work of cutting the power in the case of a short circuit.
GFCI also gives the protection to the home’s resident from getting the electrical shock when the electrical appliances come in contact with water or a human body. A simple circuit breaker can’t do this task.

Testing the GFCI Circuit

For the accurate working it is very important to check if the GFCI circuit breaker is working normally or not. It is necessary to test its working because it is an electrical device which can be damaged or any other problem may also occurs in it, such as burning or melting due to heat.

Many of the consumers don’t check the DFCI circuit breakers normal working and bear large amount of lose if the GFCI circuit breaker is not working properly in the case of emergency.

How to Test?

  1. Bring a testing device, like a lamp, AVO-meter, or a non contact voltage tester.
  2. Insert the testing device into the outlet, and press the test button on the outlet.
  3. The power should go off. If not then this outlet is damaged and need to be replaced.
  4. Press the test button again, the power should on again.

You should have your own hand and test tools at home to be able to check your electrical devices safely and quickly.

I collected a set of basic and important tools for electrical work. Check My articles:

GFCI Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Tripping is how a circuit breaker do its main job, Which is protection. Most of us do the same thing when a breaker trips, reset the breaker.

But what if the breaker still tripping immediately? In this case the breaker is doing its job or it is damaged.

If the circuit and wiring has a fault, then its normal for a breaker to trip.

Shortly, the main reasons of CB tripping are:

  • Ground fault.
  • Short circuit.
  • Overloaded circuit.
  • Arc fault.
  • Damaged CB.

I Wrote a detailed article about CB tripping. I highly recommend reading it, 5 Reasons for CB tripping, What Should You Do?