GFCI & AFCI Protection

GFCI - Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter & The  AFCI - Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter
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If you have ever experienced an Electrical Shock when touching something after walking across a Carpet, that is a Electrostatic Discharge. If we did not have GFCI Protection we would most likely get more Severe and Dangerous Shocks in the Kitchen, Bathroom and Laundry Room.

Thanks to Charles Dalziel a Professor Electrical Engineering at University of California. He invented the GFCI in 1961.

The NEC (National Electric Code), an Independent non Governmental Agency, writes the Code Requirements but cannot make them Law. Each State uses these Guidelines to Write and Enforce a Law that will Protect their Citizens.

GFCI's were first Mandated by the NEC for Outdoor Receptacle use in 1971, they expanded the Mandate in 1975 to include Bathrooms and in 1987 that same requirement included Kitchens.

How it Works

As Electricity Flows to and from the GFCI Receptacle the Internal Circuitry Monitors that Flow and when it detects a 5 to 30 milliamps difference in the Flow, the Circuit is Disconnected or Tripped. This reaction by the GFCI can happen in as little as 25 Milliseconds preventing a Damaging Electrical Shock or Electrocution.

The GFCI must have Power to be Re-Set. If the Flow of Electricity has been Stopped because of an Overload or Short that caused the "Breaker" to Trip Off then the GFCI will Not Re-Set.

Contrary to some who say the GFCI will Trip when overloaded is False, an overload is Protected by the Circuit Breaker that Connects the Circuit to the Main Power in the Breaker Box.

If the Breaker in the Main Panel has Tripped off and you are not sure why, you may want to consider calling a Pro to determine the cause of the Tripped Breaker and make Repairs if needed.

Resetting a Tripped Breaker is only Possible by pushing the lever all the way to the Off Position, this takes a little more force, then back to the On Position. If properly Reset and there are no Problems in the Circuit then the Breaker should should stay in the On Position.

Arc Fault Breaker

Most do not know they have them or what they do. The Arc Fault Breaker detects and Reacts to slight Electrical Arcs and Overloads anywhere in their Individual Circuit.

First required in 1999, and became effective January of 2002. At first they were only required in Bedroom Circuits, the 2020 National Electrical Code requires all 15 amp and 20 amp Outlet Circuits have the Arc Fault Protection (AFCI Breakers).

Some Local & State Codes have Exemptions. Personally I think it's an Excellent add on Protection, I have added Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters on Certain additional Circuits.

The AFCI detects Electrical Arcs caused by Loose Connections in a Circuit, Static Arcs from Bedding can cause an Arc. Loose Electrical connections Wires not Properly connected to the Outlet and cause Arcs and Heat. Two things that start fires.

Replacing a AFCI with a Regular Breaker because of Nuisance Tripping is not a good Idea even if suggested by a Professional. Nuisance Tripping can be located it takes an Experienced, Patience and Persistent Person.

I could not find any Current Accurate Statistics on Home Electrical Fires for 2022 or 2023. The most current information I found was about 47,000 Electrical Fires each year causing 400 Deaths and over 1,300 Injuries and maybe 2 Billion Dollars in Damage per year.

Example of ARC Fault Nuisance Tripping

One of my neighbors has had Sporadic Outages in the Very Early morning that shuts off the CPAP Machine and a Oxygen Generator. There is an urge to Replace the AFCI Breaker with a Regular Breaker. They are using an Extension Cord from a Different Circuit that does not have Arc Fault Breaker to aide in locating the Cause of the Trip. They have narrowed it down to the Oxygen Generator. The Generator's Automatic on/off switching may be the problem.


  • More than 1 GFCI Outlet can be Protected by a Single GFCI as long as the additional Outlets are Properly Connected to the 1st Outlet, the additional Outlets are connected to the Load Side of the 1st Outlet. The Additional Outlets will not have a TEST or RESET Button just a Sticker indicating it is a Protected GFCI Outlet.
  • Arc Fault Breakers are located in the Main Breaker Box and will connect all the Outlets in a Room such as the Master Bedroom, 1st bedroom, 2nd Bedroom and so on. Each Room will have their own Arc Fault Breaker.

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