What do the Terms “Rocker” and “GFI” Mean?
Switch plates can come in a wide variety of styles and colors. The switch plate hardware is what surrounds the actual light switch itself, and is commonly made of ceramic, plastic, or metal. Often, the switch plate design is chosen for its ability to blend in with surrounding wallpaper or to the theme of the room that it is installed in. Unique and elaborate designs do exist for switch plates and there are a number of different configurations for them. There are single, double, triple, and even quadruple switch plates depending on the amount of light switches that the plate will encompass. There are also “combo” switch plates that are placed over a wall outlet and a light switch. We have a huge variety of switch plates in different finishes and designs that can fit any style of room.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Switch plates can cover either “toggle” switches, which are the kind of light switch that you flip up or down, or “rockers”, which are the square-designed switches that you simply press on or rock your hand upon. The rocker switch is very common in households and residential buildings. So, rather than pushing a short, protruding handle up or down as you would on a toggle switch, a rocker is used by pressing upon a “paddle” to turn the light from off to on, or vice versa. Where you press on the paddle itself, either on the top or the bottom, corresponds to the off or on mechanism. Interestingly, the rocker style is the more popular style seen around the world today. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore and India this type of switch is near-universal, where the toggle design would be considered old-fashioned. Here in the United States, it may not be quite the same trend, yet—but its safe to say the rocker design is the more modern-looking style of the two.
Whenever you turn off a light switch in a bathroom or kitchen, for instance, you come across a receptacle switch plate known as a “GFI”, which stands for Ground Fault Interrupter. This means that the receptacle has a built in circuit that can detect leakage current on the load side of the device. In layman’s terms, this simply means that a GFI can prevent a hazardous ground fault connection and protect against electric shock. These plates are commonly enforced today by a National Electric Code, and are required in places that are in close proximity to water and large sources of power.
We offer a great selection of polished chrome and brushed nickel door knob sets, knobs, pulls, knockers and other home hardware – they even offer free design assistance and help. Remember to search for solid brass construction to ensure strength and durability. Replacing older hardware is a great way to update the look and feel of any room in the home with minimal effort so choose your new hardware wisely and make informed choices.