What is a GFCI? Continue Reading
What is a GFCI?
A ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a device used in electrical wiring to disconnect a circuit when unbalanced current is detected between an energized conductor and a neutral return conductor. Such an imbalance is sometimes caused by current “leaking” through a person who is simultaneously in contact with a ground and an energized part of the circuit, which can result in lethal shock. GFCIs are designed to provide protection in such a situation, unlike standard circuit breakers, which guard against overloads, and short circuits.
What is an AFCI?
Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are special types of electrical receptacles or outlets and circuit breakers designed to detect and respond to potentially dangerous electrical arcs in home branch wiring. As designed, AFCIs function by monitoring the electrical waveform and promptly opening (interrupting) the circuit they serve if they detect changes in the wave pattern that are characteristic of a dangerous arc. In addition to the detection of dangerous wave patterns (arcs that may cause fires), AFCIs are also designed to differentiate safe, normal arcs. An example of this arc is when a switch is turned on or a plug is pulled from a receptacle. Very small changes in wave patterns can be detected, recognized, and responded to by AFCIs.
GFCIs and AFCIs must be installed in readily accessible locations because they have test buttons that should be pushed periodically. Manufacturers recommend that homeowners test or cycle the breakers and receptacles periodically to help ensure that the electrical components are working properly.
Older construction didn’t have GFCIs or AFCIs. However adding them would be an improvement to better protect you and your family.
To ensure that circuit breakers and receptacles are working properly, homeowners should periodically cycle or test the electrical components for proper function.
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