Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)?

Residential electrical fires occur around 70,000 times a year. A significant portion of these fires can be attributed to arc faults. An arc fault is the flow of electricity over an unintended path. These arcs can exceed temperatures of 10,000 degrees F and easily ignite combustible materials in the home. AFCI’s are devices that protect your home by detecting dangerous arcs and safely de-energizing the circuit. Arc faults arise from a number of situations, including:

• Damaged wires
• Receptacle leakage
• Neutral leads pinched to grounded metal box
• Worn electrical insulation
• Loose electrical connections
• Shorted wires
• Wires or cords in contact with vibrating metal
• Overhead or stressed electrical cords and wires
• Misapplied/damaged appliances

Branch/Feeder AFCI

A Branch/Feeder AFCI has the ability to detect and neutralize a parallel arc fault, which is the unintentional flow of electricity between two separate wires. There are three types of parallel arc faults: Line-to-line, line-to-ground, and line-to-neutral.

Combination AFCI

Combination AFCI delivers 5 kinds of protection:

1. Parallel protection – Just like its Branch/Feeder counterpart, Combination AFCI can detect and neutralize parallel arc faults.
2. Series Protection – A series arc fault is the unintended flow of electricity over a gap within a single wire. These arc faults were not detectable until advanced technology allowed the development of the Combination AFCI breaker.
3. Ground protection – Arcing between a single conductor and a ground line
4. Overload protection
5. Short circuit protection

The combination AFCI represents advancement in technology and home protection. The 2008 NEC Code mandates that for new construction, all dwelling areas in the home have Combination AFCI protection:

  • • Bedroom
    • Living Room
    • Dining Room
    • Sun Room
    • Hallway
    • Closet Finished Basement
    • Rec Room

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