a Ground-Fault Circuit-interrupter With Every Power Tool
The U S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
(who originally wrote this article) recommends the use of a
ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) with every power tool to protect against
electrical shock hazards. Each year, CPSC learns of approximately 20 to 30
electrocution deaths associated with power drills, saws, sanders, hedge
trimmers, and other electric power tools. Most of these deaths could be
prevented by the use of a GFCI.
A GFCI constantly monitors current
flowing in a circuit to sense any loss of current. If the current flowing
through two circuit conductors differs by a very small amount, the GFCI
instantly interrupts the current flow to prevent a lethal amount of electricity
from reaching the consumer. The consumer may feet a painful shock but will not
be electrocuted. Grounding may provide some protection for power equipment and
double insulation of newer power tools presents lower risks of electrocution.
However, GFCls are the most effective means for protecting consumers against
electrical shock hazards.
Since 1973, homes built according to the
National Electrical Code have varying degrees of GFCI protection. GFCIs were
first required in outdoor receptacle circuits In 1973, bathrooms in 1975, garage
wall outlets in 1978, some kitchen receptacles since 1987, and all receptacle
outlets in unfinished basements and crawl spaces since 1990.
types of GFCls are available for home use: circuit breaker, receptacle and
portable types. The circuit breaker type needs to be installed by an
electrician. The receptacle type may be installed by knowledgeable consumers
familiar with electrical wiring practices. The portable GFCI needs no special
knowledge to install Just plug the portable GFCI Into a wall receptacle and then
plug the electric power tool into the GFCI. It is generally priced below $30 and
is available at hardware stores, building supply centers and electrical supply