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Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters VS Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters | Print |  Email

The world of electricity is filled with acronyms and abbreviations – CFL (compact florescent light), kW (kilowatt), AC (alternating current), and POV (peak operating voltage) just to name a few. It can get confusing!  Take for example GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) & AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter). They both contain the words fault, circuit and interrupter in the same order— so what is the difference? They do different things, but basically they keep you and your home safe from the dangers of electricity.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters help prevent burns, electric shocks and electrocution.  A GFCI has sensors that measure the current going out and the current coming back in. Normally, the current is balanced as it goes out and comes back in. However, if the current is out of balance, something is wrong. The electric current has made contact with a human, or somewhere else it should not be. The GFCI senses this, and instantly shuts down the circuit, stopping the flow of electricity. Since water is an excellent electric conductor, GFCIs are important in areas where water and electricity could meet, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and garages.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters help prevent electric fires. Electricity can leak out of damaged or decaying wires and start a fire. These fires spread quickly in the wiring behind walls. Electric fires cause more damage than other types of fire, and are twice as deadly. AFCIs sense that electricity is leaking from the electric system, and shut electricity off before overheating happens.  

Basically, GFCI’s prevent shocks, and AFCI’s prevent fires. Both can be installed by a qualified electrician to make your home safer. 

 

 


 

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