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Thread: GFI vs GFCI

  1. #1
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    Question GFI vs GFCI

    I have been doing some studying on GFI & GFCI and for the most part folks say they are the same, but some say they are not. I am curious to thoughts about it as I commonly call everything a GFI and sometimes I am corrected.

    I found this: A GFI protects only loads that are plugged directly into that outlet. A GFCI protects loads that are plugged into that outlet and any loads that are plugged into outlets that are downstream from it.

    Or should I really care what they are called as long as the outlets for the given areas are protected.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Reilly View Post

    Or should I really care what they are called as long as the outlets for the given areas are protected.
    Don't worry about what people call them as long as they are at the appropriate locations.
    They are call GFCI .. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters.


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  3. #3
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    I agree with Roy. Before I got into this biz, I called them GFIs, as do a lot of old timers, ahem, but the correct term for those outlets with the two push buttons is GFCI.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    What they said. Like using "smoke detector" for "smoke alarm," the latter containing the annunciation as well as the detection component. Technically, when a GFCI operates--device or CB type--the ground fault is not interrupted, just the power to it, which makes "GFI" not exACtly correct.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    What they said. Like using "smoke detector" for "smoke alarm," the latter containing the annunciation as well as the detection component. Technically, when a GFCI operates--device or CB type--the ground fault is not interrupted, just the power to it, which makes "GFI" not exACtly correct.
    I can't agree with your logic. When a ground fault occurs (circuit completed through a faulty ground - you!) the circuit is interrupted just as promised by the name Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. The name implies the circuit is interrupted it says nothing about disconnecting the ground (although that's exactly what happens when the circuit is interrupted - ground (you) is disconnected from power). This occurs regardless of the name given to it.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    Removing power does "interrupt the ground fault".

    Not by breaking the faulty ground connection, but by de-energizing the circuit with the ground fault, either de-energizing the circuit entirely at a GFCI breaker, or the circuit from a GFCI receptacle on (or other GFCI device on).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Reilly View Post
    I have been doing some studying on GFI & GFCI and for the most part folks say they are the same, but some say they are not. I am curious to thoughts about it as I commonly call everything a GFI and sometimes I am corrected.

    I found this: A GFI protects only loads that are plugged directly into that outlet. A GFCI protects loads that are plugged into that outlet and any loads that are plugged into outlets that are downstream from it.

    Or should I really care what they are called as long as the outlets for the given areas are protected.
    One of the sources of the confusion on the naming of a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is that there are 2 types of Ground Fault safety devices in use in the electrical industry. The one most people are familiar with is the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). The second is unlikely to ever be encountered by Home inspectors.

    Ground-Fault Protection of Equipment. A system intended to provide protection of equipment from damaging line-to-ground fault currents by operating to cause a disconnecting means to open all ungrounded conductors of the faulted circuit. This protection is provided at current levels less than those required to protect conductors from damage through the operation of a supply circuit overcurrent device.

    --
    Tom Horne


  8. #8
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    Quote Originally Posted by THOMAS HORNE View Post
    One of the sources of the confusion on the naming of a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is that there are 2 types of Ground Fault safety devices in use in the electrical industry.
    --
    Tom Horne
    And then you could look at marinas: 4-6mA (Class A), 30 mA, and soon coming your way, 100 mA upstream of the 30 mA.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    And then you could look at marinas: 4-6mA (Class A), 30 mA, and soon coming your way, 100 mA upstream of the 30 mA.
    With all of the electrical paralysis drownings that have occurred in fresh water marinas they cannot be required soon enough. If I were a locality's Chief Electrical Inspector; and I encountered one of the electrical systems that have been described in the coroners reports I've seen published; I would seek my local governing body's permission to subject it to the risk of a law suit by hitting the owners with a "Clear and Present Danger" corrective order. I would already have issued a cease operation order for the faulty dock wiring. I would require double block and break disconnection of the power to that wiring and I would give them 24 hours to get it that fully disconnected. I'd provide them with my cell phone number so whichever electrical contractor they got to come out could be sure of having a permit for their work if I had to bring it to them personally. I served over 45 years as a firefighter in seasonal, limited term, and volunteer positions and I can assure you that I can still recall the faces of every child we lost. I never was involved in a drowning response but I cannot imagine they are any easier to be involved in than any other childhood death.

    --
    Tom Horne


  10. #10
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    Quote Originally Posted by THOMAS HORNE View Post
    With all of the electrical paralysis drownings that have occurred in fresh water marinas they cannot be required soon enough. If I were a locality's Chief Electrical Inspector; and I encountered one of the electrical systems that have been described in the coroners reports I've seen published; I would seek my local governing body's permission to subject it to the risk of a law suit by hitting the owners with a "Clear and Present Danger" corrective order.
    Tom Horne
    I appreciate what you're saying. Unfortunately, there are local governing bodies that overrule chief electrical inspectors when it comes to requiring expensive measures, despite the heart-rending tragedies that could have been avoided.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    Unfortunately, there are local governing bodies that overrule chief electrical inspectors when it comes to requiring expensive measures, despite the heart-rending tragedies that could have been avoided.
    David,

    That happens all over Florida too ... and the reason I specifically mention Florida is Florida has a state statute which specifically prohibits that.

    But ... if the building official wants to keep his/her job ... you know how it usually goes (some have the wherewithal to stand up to such interference, many do not).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: GFI vs GFCI

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    I appreciate what you're saying. Unfortunately, there are local governing bodies that overrule chief electrical inspectors when it comes to requiring expensive measures, despite the heart-rending tragedies that could have been avoided.
    David

    You are undoubtedly correct. It is no comfort to the family of a drowning victim but if I openly and publicly sought the support of the local legislative body; whatever they happen to be called; then at least the aggrieved would know that I had done my best to prevent the drowning from occurring and the victim's body could be laid at the right doorstep.

    --
    Tom Horne


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