Electrical protection: GFCI and AFCI
Advancements in electrical protection devices help keep families and businesses safe. These devices include Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) and Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI’s). Both help prevent electrical shocks and fires caused by erratic surges in electrical current.
GFCIs are designed to trip when they sense even a minor imbalance in current between the hot (black) and neutral (white) legs of an electrical circuit. They shut off power to the receptacle in a fraction of a second - fast enough to avoid a potentially fatal shock. In new construction they’re required in kitchens and bathrooms, and in other areas that might get wet, such as the garage and basement.
GFCI outlets have test and reset buttons. If you locate the GFCI’s in your home, it is a good idea to test them monthly to make sure they are operating properly.
As of 2002, AFCI’s are required to be installed on branch circuits that serve residential bedrooms in new construction only, not existing construction. A property inspector can help pinpoint areas where added safety measures such as AFCI’s or GFCI’s could help protect your family.
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