Monday, April 20, 2015

Home Inspectors in Ventura County honor Earth Day 2015!

Earth Day is about coming together as a society to raise awareness and promote environmentally friendly activities. After all, we only have one Mother Earth - we should take care of her!

Structure Inspections honors Earth Day by emphasizing green methods including: 
  • Reducing and monitoring paper use and using eco-friendly paper whenever possible
  • Reducing energy consumption including making sure we have energy-efficient bulbs and turning off lights and equipment when not in use
  • Carpooling when two inspectors will go to one job

You can help too! On Earth Day April 22, 2015 pledge to switch to at least 1 new 'green' activity. For ideas on what you can do check out 50 Ways to Help the Planet.

What is GFCI and Why is it Important?

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, ESFi, each day 7 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for electrical shock or burn injuries caused by wall outlets.

GFCIs can save your life - read why here:

What is a GFCI?

GFCI is an acronym for a Ground Fault Circuit Interrrupter. It's an inexpensive electrical component used as a safety measure that can be installed in your home to protect people from electric shock and appliances from overheating and causing fires in case of a Ground Fault

The National Electrical Code has set requirements for GFCIs in places such as the exteriors, bathrooms, kitchens, laundry and utility sinks, and whenever the outlet is near water. However, these only apply to new construction and major renovations. Homes built prior to these requirements are likely without GFCI protection. 

What is a Ground Fault?

A Ground Fault occurs when there is a disturbance in an electric circuit between the intended path of the current's travel. Ground faults can be the result of a damaged or defective tool being plugged in, bad appliances or bulbs, touching water that touches electricity or live wires. The electrical current takes the unintended path through the user, causing burns, injury or even death. 

How does a GFCI work?

It does just as the name suggests: Interrupts the Ground Fault. A GFCI is a fast acting circuit breaker that detects when the electrical current has been interrupted by any imbalance and is designed to shut off (trip) the electrical power in a fraction of one second. When properly installed and maintained, GFCIs will interrupt power before electricity even has a chance to reach a person's heart and create electrical accidents. 

GFCI Protection

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), "The GFCI will not protect you from line contact hazards (i.e. a person holding two "hot" wires, a hot and a neutral wire in each hand, or contacting an overhead power line)." Nonetheless, GFCIs are inexpensive added safety measures that protect families from common electrical hazards.  

We recommend homeowners take proactive steps to protect their family and their home and upgrade their system with GFCI protection.  You may already have GFCI receptacles in your home. You can usually identify these by their push buttons that say "reset" and "test." If you're unsure if your home has circuit-breaker and receptacle-type GFCI protection, you can contact a home inspector to find out. All installations should be completed by a qualified electrician; you should not attempt to install yourself.

Structure Inspections checks for GFCIs in every inspection and recommends upgrades when needed. Our experienced inspectors remain current with building practices to provide the best home inspection and commercial inspections in Ventura County, northern Los Angeles, and the Santa Barbara area. We are just a phone call away from taking care of your next inspection! Call us today at (805) 815 - 3000.