Electrical Questions? APEC Electric Has Answers! Serving Northern GA.
Do you have an electrical question? APEC Electrical Contractors want to provide answers that keep you and your family safe, and your home electrical systems functioning properly. Here is some information about AFCI breakers and their guidelines from the experienced electricians at APEC Electric:
What is an AFCI Breaker?
Since January 1, 2002, The National Electrical Code, Section 210-12, required that all branch circuits supplying 125V, single phase, 15 and 20 ampere outlets installed in bedrooms be protected by an AFCI, or Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter. They are required on bedroom circuits because a CPSC study showed many home fire deaths were related to bedroom circuits.
The AFCI breaker will shut off a circuit in a fraction of a second if arcing develops. The current inside of an arc is not always high enough to trip a regular breaker. You must have noticed a cut or worn piece of a cord or a loose connection in a junction box or receptacle arcing and burnt without tripping the regular breaker. As you can guess, this is a major cause of home electrical fires.
What’s The Difference Between An AFCI And A GFCI?
There is a difference between AFCIs and GFCIs. AFCIs are intended to reduce the likelihood of fire caused by electrical arcing faults, while GFCIs are intended to reduce the likelihood of electric shock hazard. GFCIs are still needed and save a lot of lives.
Are There Devices That Combine AFCI and GFCI Technology?
Combination devices that include both AFCI and GFCI protection are also available. AFCIs can be installed in any 15 or 20 ampere branch circuit in homes today and are currently available as circuit breakers with built-in AFCI features.
If a GFCI receptacle is installed on the load side of an AFCI it is possible for both the AFCI and the GFCI to trip on a fault if the current exceeds the limit for both devices. It is also possible for the AFCI to trip and the GFCI to not trip since the two devices could race each other. However, in no case is safety compromised.