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What are GFCI and AFCI Outlets and Why are they Important?

Your electrical system is critical for your comfort, but electricity can be dangerous. All circuit breakers provide overcurrent protection for the circuits they serve. When current flow exceeds the rating for the wire, the wires could overheat and can cause a fire. The circuit breaker will trip to stop the flow of electricity.

GFCI and AFCI devices provide additional protection over regular circuit breakers. A GFCI, or a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, provides protection from electrical shock. They measure the amount of current flow leaving an outlet and compare that amount to the current flow returning to the outlet. If a difference exists, some current flow has traveled to a nearby object and a ground fault occurs. If that nearby object is you, you will receive a shock, and death could occur if the voltage is high enough. A GFCI senses the difference in current flow and trips in as little as 25 milliseconds. GFCIs are now required in all wet areas of the home (kitchen, bathrooms, laundry area, garage and exterior) because water, or moisture, entering an outlet is the leading cause of ground faults.

An AFCI, or an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, provides additional protection from fires. AFCIs will trip whenever an arc (commonly referred to as a spark) between the wire and a metal object occurs. Because arcing is the primary cause of fires and can occur even if the circuit is not overloaded, AFCIs are now required in most areas of the home.

Simply put, GFCI devices provide protection against shock and electrocution, while AFCI devices provide protection against fires.

At Bryan & Bryan Inspections, we check all accessible electrical outlets and look for GFCI and AFCI devices in required locations. We offer a variety of affordable package options to choose from to fit your specific budget and inspection needs. Contact us at (866) 484-8318, get a quote, or schedule now on our website. We look forward to serving you!


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