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GFCI Breakers vs GFCI Receptacles

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In this day and age, we rely on electricity for so many things in our homes. In fact, electricity has become so commonplace that many people don’t even realize how dangerous it can be any more. Apart from electrical fires, the biggest risk our electrical systems pose is electrical shocks, particularly in areas with lots of water, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens and outdoor areas, and can cause serious injury or even death. One of the best ways to prevent electrical shocks and minimize the risks associated with electrical outlets in close contact with water is to install either a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) breaker or receptacles.

What’s the difference between a GFCI breaker and GFCI receptacles?

Both GFCI breakers and GFCI receptacles are life-saving improvements that have helped to decrease the number of electrocutions caused by consumer products every year. GFCIs automatically turn off the power when they sense imbalances between the incoming and outgoing electrical currents; whereas, a standard circuit will only shut off the power when the electrical current gets too high.

A GFCI breaker is built directly into the electrical panel, and it protects all of the receptacles on that circuit. With a GFCI breaker, every power outlet that is connected to the breaker’s line will have complete GFCI protection.

A GFCI receptacle is a part of an individual power outlet. These are the power outlets with the test and reset buttons on them, and anything that is plugged into an outlet with a GFCI receptacle will automatically shut off if an imbalance is detected in the current. Some GFCI receptacles offer multi-location protection by protecting the individual outlet, plus any outlets that are downstream from it on the same circuit.

How do you decide whether a GFCI breaker or receptacle is right for you?

Both GFCI breakers and receptacles can increase the safety in your home and reduce the risk of electrical shocks, but there are pros and cons to each, and determining which option is right for you will depend on the individual circumstances.

When to Install a GFCI Breaker:

  • When the majority or all of the outlets on the circuit require GFCI protection
  • When outlets that require GFCI protection don’t have the space for the bigger GFCI receptacles
  • For specialty uses, like for heated swimming pools
  • For those who prefer to protect the entire circuit rather than individual outlets

When to Install a GFCI Receptacle:

  • When a single circuit powers some outlets that require GFCI protection and some that don’t
  • When you need GFCI outlets but don’t want the added expense of installing a GFCI breaker
  • When the individual receptacle that needs GFCI protection is located far away from the breaker box

Shop Breaker Outlet for GFCI breakers and receptacles today!

Both GFCI breakers and receptacles are a great choice for protecting your home and preventing electrical shocks, and no matter which one you choose, you’ll find it here with us at Breaker Outlet. With a large selection of both new and refurbished electrical breakers, we’re confident that we have the perfect option for your needs. Shop with us today!


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