ElectricalHow Do AFCI Outlets Differ from GFCI Outlets?

We use electrical outlets all of the time throughout the day. In addition to old standbys like our water heaters, refrigerators and televisions, we now plug in various handheld electronics, eReaders, and other devices to charge. The outlets in our homes are in constant use, but chances are that you don’t really have much of an understanding of them. Some homeowners may not even realize that there are different types of outlets in their homes, and that they are used for different purposes. In the following post, you’ll learn a bit more about two common types of outlets in Everett, WA.

AFCI vs. GFIC Outlets

These days, our electrical systems are safer than ever before. They are held to higher standards in terms of code compliance, and modern circuit breakers and wiring materials help to distribute electricity throughout homes very safely. However, there are also further safety precautions to consider, including the use of different outlets in different areas of the home. The AFCI and GFCI outlets are examples of these precautions.

GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupters, are installed in areas where water is in close proximity to the outlets. They are required in many areas, including kitchens, bathrooms, and all outdoor receptacles, generally. The purpose of a GFCI outlet is to prevent electric shocks to users. The GFCI outlet monitors outgoing and return current levels. If it notices a discrepancy in these levels, it will automatically trip, much like a circuit breaker, as this situation suggests a ground fault in which electricity is taking a shortcut to the ground, potentially through the user.

AFCI, or arc fault circuit interrupters, function similarly. They are often installed throughout a home, in living and bedrooms, hallways, etc. Their function is not to prevent shocks, though, but to prevent arc faults. This is basically just the occurrence in which electricity takes an unplanned path, such as between damaged wiring. These faults can generate heat, and pose a serious fire risk.

If you are ready to schedule any outlet or electrical services, be sure to do so with G & S Heating Cooling & Electric.


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