What is AFCI?

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter or AFCI breakers and outlets protect against arc-faults which could lead to fires.

An Arc-Fault is caused by damaged or overheated electrical wiring or devices.

Arc-faults can also occur when outlets or circuits are compromised.

The National Fire Protection Association reported 47,700 home fires were due to some type of electrical failure or malfunction in 2011.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has mentioned that more than 50% of electrical fires that occur yearly can be prevented by Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs).

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters are of various types as follows:


Branch / Feeder AFCI Breaker

This breaker trips when a parallel arc between hot and neutral conductors is detected.

It provides moderate fire protection.

Combination Type AFCI Breaker

Branch / Feeder AFCI breaker have been phased out and now replaced with Combination Type AFCI breakers which provide enhanced fire protection.

It can detect lower level series arcs in both branch circuits and power cords.


AFCI Receptacle

This receptacle gives protection from Arc-Faults in branch circuit wiring extending to appliances and cords plugged into the receptacle hence it provides

enhanced fire protection.

​ AFCI protection required in areas of your home as outlined by the National Electrical Code:

  • Living rooms
  • Family rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Closets
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry areas
  • Rec rooms
  • Parlors, libraries, or dens

AFCI Breakers and receptacles should be tested every month.

If the home is older than 40 years or has had a major renovation or large appliance added then all electrical systems should have an electrical inspection.

AFCIs should always be installed by a qualified electrician.

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