GFCI protection vs. Ground Protection


Old 02-24-06, 12:16 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 34
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
GFCI protection vs. Ground Protection

Could any of you explain the difference of the protection that you receive from a GFCI outlet compared to the protection received from the ground wire? I know that both are important, but which one is actually safer?

Just trying to understand...and haven't really found the answer to this...

Sponsored Links
Old 02-24-06, 12:58 PM
bolide's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
GFCI is a thousand times safer, but you need both. The functions are not equal and a GFCI does not duplicate all the functions of an EGC.

A GFCI detects a diversion of current from the circuit and shuts the power off at a level that is not fatal to most people. Though if you are clever, you can easily shock yourself with it.

A ground attempts to collect electricity that escapes from the circuit and tries to return it to the sender. The breaker won't trip until more escapes than the breaker permits.

This can be thousands of times more current (and duration) than it takes to give a fatal shock.

Last edited by bolide; 02-24-06 at 01:13 PM.
Old 02-24-06, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 131
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
an equipment grounding conductor puts all metal non current carrying parts at earth potential and provides a low impedance path for fault current to return to the source if a ground fault conditon occurs.
a gfci is a ground fault circuit interupter that uses a turodial transformer to measure an imbalance in current flow from the hot to the neutral. the trip amount is 4-6ma.
Old 02-24-06, 02:26 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,944
Received 42 Votes on 40 Posts
Originally Posted by umtigers
but which one is actually safer?
GFCI, however the ground and the GFCI serve different purposes and both must be present. The only exception is that GFCI protection can be used in lieu of a ground in older homes that do not have ground wires. This protection does not actually add a ground, but makes the circuits much safer from electrocution.
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: