Understanding the Differences of GFCI and AFCI outlets

Electricity is a marvel of the modern world. Most of us would experience a crisis if we had to adjust to life without electricity at home or work, especially since nearly every activity in our day-to-day lives depends on electricity, whether directly or indirectly.

Fortunately, electricity in homes and businesses is much safer today than it was in years past. Fault circuit interrupters are one way that electricity has been made much safer. Perhaps the most widely known interrupter is the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), though another type of interrupter – the arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) – is also commonly found in homes and businesses.

GFCI OutletGFCIs are most commonly seen in bathroom, kitchens and near other water sources. In fact, electrical code requires a GFCI for electrical outlets located close to water sources. A GFCI works by measuring the electrical current, detecting if the current going out and returning back is balanced. When the GFCI detects an imbalance in the current, it trips the circuit and cuts off the electricity. This near-instant break in the circuit can save lives.

An AFCI also offers a cutoff protection like a GFCI, but is designed to detect electricity leakage instead. This leakage can occur because of loose or broken wires. Wiring that is faulty can lead to a dangerous electrical fire. AFCIs detect leakage in electrical current, and interrupt the circuit to prevent an electrical fire from starting in areas behind the wall where corroded or frayed wiring cannot be easily seen.

Using technologies like GFCI and AFCI outlets have helped to make electricity in our homes and businesses safer overall. These devices are relatively inexpensive and can easily be installed by a qualified electrician or a seasoned do-it-yourselfer.

A professional home inspection can verify whether or not your home is properly protected with AFCI and GFCI outlets. Many people only consider a home inspection when preparing to purchase a property, but periodic inspections can help identify any problems or dangers that might develop over time from storms, changing weather conditions or even just normal wear and tear.

Call Pristine Inspections and Testing at 217-352-3743 and schedule a home inspection at your property today.