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What is an ACFI, and why do I need it?

FAQ 2: What is an ACFI, and why do I need it?

ACFIwhat is an ACFIAFCI (Arc-Fault-Circuit-Interrupting) breakers and receptacles (also known as AFI or simply “arc-fault”) have been on the scene since the early 2000s. Beginning with the 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC) they are being required almost everywhere in residential applications that is not already protected by a GFCI.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GFCIs AND AFCIs?

Both have test buttons. Both protect. They look alike. (You may not be able to tell the difference unless you look closely!)

After that, the differences are HUGE. GFCIs protect from differential current—i.e., what’s coming in and what’s going out. (See our GFCI article.) AFCIs, on the other hand, protect from FIRE. They are designed to save lives. Thus, they are taking on a prominence that will only be increasing, and they are adding to the costs of construction significantly—typically, AFCI breakers cost between $40 and $80, and receptacles around $30 or more.

HOW DOES AN AFCI WORK?

AFCIs are a bit more complicated to explain than GFCIs, because they measure two things: arcing (electricity traveling through the air or other substance instead of wires) and current (load). [Read more…]


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