Frequently Asked Questions about Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

GFCI safety extension cord
Q. What is a GFCI?

A. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. It is a device intended for protection of personnel from electrical shock hazards.

Q. Is a GFI the same as GFCI?

A. Yes. It is used interchangeably.

Q. Why do I need a GFCI?

A. If an approval agency like UL requires you to use a GFCI for your appliance. You can also use a GFCI for marketing purpose and to provide extra safety for your appliance.

Q. What do you mean by Class A GFCI?

A. It means that it will shut down the power to the appliance when there is a ground fault current at 6mA or more but not less than 4mA.

Q. What is ground fault?

A. It is a problem in an electrical system or appliance that has an unintentional electrical connection between a part of the appliance operating normally at some potential to ground, and ground.

Q. Why is ground fault dangerous?

A. Ground fault can cause serious injury or even death if the personnel are exposed to it and the appliance has no GFCI protection.

Q. How many GFCI styles are available in the market?

A. Wall mount type, cord connected types (plug and in line), adapter type with built in receptacle(s), panel mount type, circuit breaker type, and custom made types.

Q. Do you sell all types?

A. We manufacture plug type(our popular model), in line, adapter, panel mount, exclusive custom designs for specific customers.

Q. If I have my own custom design, are you willing to work with me and give me price?

A. Yes. We can take a look and welcome your own design.

Q. What is double insulation or double insulated?

A. It is an insulation system of an appliance that has functional and supplementary insulation. You can tell if the appliance is rated double insulated by counting the number of conductors in the power cord. Double insulated appliance for outdoor use typically uses two conductor power cord.

Q. Who determines how many conductors are required for the power cord in an appliance?

A. The appliance designer and the electrical engineer will do the designing and approval agencies like UL does the testing if they can pass as double insulated and can use a two conductor power cord.

Q. Why do I need a ground wire?

A. If your appliance cannot pass as double insulated, if the appliance maker wants to provide extra protection for marketing idea or approval agencies like UL requires 100% grounding in your appliance category.

Q. What do the colors of the conductor mean?

A. Ground wire is usually green color, Hot or Line wire is black color and Return or Neutral wire is white color.

Q. Is it a problem if the power cord conductors are not connected to the correct terminal connections to your GFCI?

A. Yes, big problem and cause serious injury.

Q. Can you supply 2 conductor(2 prong) and or 3 conductor(3 prong) GFCI?

A. Yes. All our cord connected GFCI (plug and in line) are available to receive your 2 or 3 conductor power cord.

Q. Can I connect a two conductor power cord to your 3 prong GFCI and market it as grounded appliance and advertise it as extra safe?

A. No. That is cheating and approval agencies like UL will not allow it.

Q. Can I use a 2 prong GFCI to my three conductor power cord so I save money?

A. No.

Q. What do you mean by auto reset?

A. The GFCI will work right away when you plug it in the AC outlet. It will also work automatically when the electricity returns after shutdown.

Q. How about manual reset?

A. The GFCI will not work right away when you plug it in the AC outlet. You need to press the reset button first to make it work. You have to press the reset button again after electricity shutdown.

Q. How do I know if I need auto reset or manual reset?

A. We offer both types and the most popular type is auto reset because of the obvious benefits. It is a marketing, functional and safety decision on your part.

Q. Why do you have electronic reset and mechanical reset GFCI?

A. We offer manual and auto reset type with our patented electronic circuit. We also offer an economy manual reset version with a mechanical mechanism.

Q. What do you mean by rainproof?

A. The housing is designed to pass the UL rain test requirement for outdoor use.

Q. Is rainproof same as waterproof?

A. No.

Q. Can I put the GFCI underwater to test for rainproof?

A. No. Our GFCI is not rated waterproof.

Q. Are you approved for use in Canada?

A. Yes. We have CSA and C UL US approvals.

Q. What is a pig tail?

A. In a GFCI, a pig tail refers to the input cord of an in line type GFCI.

Q. What is the maximum length allowed for the pig tail?

A. According to UL, 12 inches is the maximum.

Q. Can you ship GFCI with and without cords?

A. Yes. We have all the UL approvals and our cord connected GFCI are also Recognized Component by UL.

Q. Can I use SPT3 or any other flat cords to your GFCI?

A. No. Only round cord and the most popular is SJTW. We can always tell you if your cord can be used or not by letting us know the cord specs.

Q. What AWG size can I use?

A. It depends on your appliance rating. 14AWG is rated for 15A max, 16AWG is rated for 13A max and 18AWG is rated for 10A max.

Q. Why don’t you change the current rating marking on your GFCI when I only use 16AWG for 13A or 18AWG for 10A?

A. Our GFCI is still rated at 15A and we marked our GFCI with the corresponding load capacities using different AWG power cord.

Q. Can I use a cord with no “W” at the end like SJT and use it for outdoor?

A. No. It must be with “W” which means water resistant.

Q. Can I use your GFCI for indoor use?

A. Yes.

Q. Do I need to use a special terminal to connect to your GFCI?

A. No. It is not required and our terminal box can accept some terminal types.

Q. Why is your GFCI rated at 125V and your competition rating is 120V?

A. UL is making every GFCI manufacturer to change to 125V rating on the marking.

Q. Can your GFCI work at 50Hz?

A. Our GFCI is marketed and available for use in the USA and Canada which is 60Hz. UL tested our GFCI and approved for 60Hz. We cannot guarantee that the GFCI will continue to work over long period of time at 50Hz.

Q. My appliance is ETL approved. Can I use your UL approved GFCI with my ETL approved appliance?

A. Yes you can. ETL will allow UL approved devices to give you full approval.

Q. Can I use a 60C rated cord and can I get UL approval?

A. It depends on your appliance’s electrical and temperature performance as evaluated by UL and other approval agencies.

Q. How about 105C?

A. Yes.

Q. Can I use a cord with no approvals?

A. No.

Q. Why do you have a warning label on the power cord and can I remove it?

A. If we supply you with the GFCI with cord, we must attach this warning label. Removing this label after we shipped and received by you will be your own responsibility.

Q. Can I supply you the cord at no charge and you assemble it to your GFCI?

A. Yes.

Q. Are you sure your plug type GFCI will fit inside an outdoor outlet with a protective cover?

A. Yes. Our GFCI fits most outdoor outlets than the competition.

Q. What is open neutral protection?

A. It is a UL requirement on portable and cord connected GFCI. If the white wire or Neutral was cut or disconnected on the supply side of the GFCI, it must not provide power to the appliance.

Q. Does your GFCI have open neutral protection?

A. Yes. Our patented circuit is designed with open neutral protection feature.

Q. What is grounded neutral protection?

A. It is a requirement for all types of GFCI and if the white wire or Neutral becomes grounded on the appliance or load side, the GFCI will also cut power to the appliance.

Q. My customer is asking if they can use an extension cord to plug the GFCI. Is this OK?

A. No. We do not recommend using an extension cord.

Q. Will the GFCI trip and cut power to the appliance if there is an accidental short circuit?

A. No. A GFCI is not a circuit breaker and it is not designed to provide protection against short circuit.

Q. I thought GFCI will protect against shock hazard but your warning label say it will not protect against electric shock?

A. A GFCI only protects against electric shock if you get exposed to the black wire conductor directly or indirectly and you are grounded. If you are exposed and touched both black wire and white wire, you will get an electric shock. A GFCI will not protect you this way.

Q. What if I touched the black wire and I am not grounded? Will the GFCI cut power and protect me?

A. No. The GFCI will not cut power since you are not grounded and there is no shock hazard.

Q. How do I know if your GFCI meets the latest requirement from UL?

A. Our head office in USA works very closely with UL in Melville, New York and we never miss any standards and or file review so our GFCI meets all the latest requirements.

Q. Do you test your GFCI 100%?

A. Yes. We test each GFCI according to the UL testing procedures.

Q. What other protection products do you make?

A. We manufacture ALCI for hair dryers, heater fans, vacuum cleaners and other misc. applications; LCDI for cord protection for air conditioners, RCD for Australia and Europe and ELCI for equipment protection. Contact us for more details.

Q. I still don’t find the answer to my question here?

A. Call us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.