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Protect You and Your Home from Electrical Dangers by Updating your GFCI and AFCI

by B.Annie on October 8, 2018

Safety measures should be no question when it comes to your family and your home. In some states, there is no question! By law, newer homes must have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI). Their specific design is to protect you from burns, shock or electrocution. Since GFCI’s are a key feature of newer homes, they are more commonly known.. Less commonly known is another hero of the home-the Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI). An AFCI hides behind the walls of your home but plays an important role in keeping you safe. How do GFCI and AFCI act in protecting you and your home from electrical dangers?

The role of the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, or GFCI, contain electrical circuits that allow them to detect the symptoms of a household’s electrical current problem before the problem occurs. Once the current abnormality is detected, it will automatically cut off power.A ground fault occurs when electricity takes an unintended path into the ground.  The human body, being a conductor of electricity, is at great risk when this occurs. When you are using any appliance or device plugged into a GFCI outlet, it will detect an imbalance of electricity on either side of the circuit. Upon detecting the imbalance, the GFCI essentially acts as a mini circuit breaker, and will have to be reset before electricity will flow again.

What is the GFCI circuit breaker?

Installed on your service panel, the circuit breaker adds GFCI protection to the entire circuit, including wiring and all appliances on that circuit. Should the breaker trip, the homeowner must go to the panel to reset it.

What are GFCI receptacles?

Unlike the breaker box, receptacles are more accessible and have two options a single-location protection or multiple location protection. Single-location protection offers protection only at one receptacle outlet. Multiple-location protects first GFCI receptacle and every receptacle of it is the same circuit. However, it does not protect the circuit between itself and the service panel. GFCI’s are generally required and installed where electrical circuits may accidentally come in contact with water (in areas such as the: kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, garage, etc.).

The role of the Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)

Arcing is caused in conditions where electricity is being conducted over air and converted to heat by some appliances. Sometimes, these will also produce heating where the device plugs into the wall. This electrical leak is arcing. The role of the Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is to shut down the outlet before damage occurs and thereby is ultimately responsible for preventing electrical fires.

What’s the difference between a GFCI and an AFCI?

Unlike GFCI’s, AFCI protection devices are not installed into wall receptacles. Instead, AFCI’s are built into your home’s main electrical service panel as special circuit breakers. Your home can easily be AFCI protected. As of 2008, it is required for all electrical wiring reaching sleeping areas.

If you have a home older than 15 years, consider upgrading your electrical system. Updated GFCIs and AFCIs could make a difference in the safety of your home and those dwelling in it. Protect yourself from the next current gone astray or leak of electricity. To see if your home needs an electrical upgrade, contact the professionals at  Winstar.