controlling leakage

Importance of controlling leakage current

In any electrical installation, some current will flow through the protective ground conductor to ground. This situation is usually called leakage current. Leakage current mostly flows in the insulation surrounding conductors and in the filters protecting electronic equipment around at home or at the office. The problems occur when leakage current on circuits protected by GFCIs (Ground Fault Current Interrupters) causes unnecessary and irregular tripping. In most cases, it can cause a rise in voltage on accessible conductive parts.

Insulation has both electrical resistance and capacitance as it conducts current through both paths. Even with the high resistance of insulation, little current can actually leak. However, if the insulation is old or damaged, the resistance is lower and ample current may flow. Moreover, longer conductors with higher capacitance cause more leakage current. At GFCI breaker manufacturers, they recommend one-way feeder length to be limited to 250 feet (76.2 m), maximum.

On electric equipment, it contains filters intended to protect against voltage surges and other disruptions. These filters typically have capacitors on the input, which adds to the overall capacitance of the wiring system and the overall level of leakage current.

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