Build my own cabin - DIY projects

What is a GFCI?

GFCI stands for "Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter".  A GFCI measures current flowing through the hot conductor and the neutral conductor of of circuit. Normally all current that it fed on the hot wire returns on the neutral wire.   If they are different by more than a few milliamps, the GFCI assumes the current is leaking to ground rather through some other path and it will trip.  This undesirable leak to ground could be through the chassis of an appliance or through a person which is why GFCI are such an important safety device, especially in wet areas where you body is more likely have a good path to ground.  When a GFCI trips the circuit is opened an is no longer a hazard.

One thing to remember is a GFCI protected outlet can still shock you.  Since it is designed to detect current leaking to ground, if you were to touch the hot line and the neutral line at the same time, the current could pass through your body.  This could electrocute you but since the current is returning to neutral the GFCI would not trip.

To learn how to properly install a GFCI outlet please refer to the GFCI wiring diagrams here.


Wiring a House