GFCI & AFCI SERVICE
Clinton Electric Installs and Replaces AFCIs and GFCIs
There are many ways to keep your home safe from day to day. Near the top of the list are ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), and your circuit breaker box. These three systems protect your home from dangerous electrical fires, protect your devices and appliances from damage, and protect you from dangerous electrical shocks and potential electrocution.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
A GFCI is usually, though not always, built directly into the electrical outlet. It carefully monitors the current flowing into the outlet and compares it to the current exiting the outlet. If the GFCI device ever detects a difference between the two, it immediately opens the circuit and shuts off power. By watching for a difference in current, it can identify when power is being shorted to ground. The most obvious reason is typically water shorting out a device, however, other problems such as a conductor coming into contact with a hot electrical lead can cause a ground fault.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)
While a GFCI protects against regular shorts on a circuit, an AFCI protects against electrical arcing. An electric arc occurs when electrical current leaps across a gap and completes a connection. When you first plug in or unplug a device, you may see a small spark. That spark is an electrical arc and is extremely common. AFCIs protect against larger arcs that have the potential to try and arc through you or a flammable material during regular operation of the circuit. They’re highly sensitive, but designed well enough to ignore tiny surges and small arcs from plugging and unplugging devices.
Your electrical panel monitors the amount of current on a circuit. The circuit breakers are designed with a simple bimetallic strip that heats up as current builds in the circuit. When the current reaches a level too high for the circuit to handle, the breaker will trip, cutting off power to all devices on the circuit and protecting them from runaway conditions.