When to Use AFCI vs GFCI Electrical Outlets

AFCIs and GFCIs are both NEC requirements to increase the safety and reduce the risk of injury within buildings. These fault circuit interrupters achieve this goal in very different ways. Knowing their purpose is vital for keeping people safe.

AFCI Outlet

What is an AFCI outlet?

AFCI Outlet

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters

An AFCI is a type of outlet that prevents fires caused by arcing faults. An arc fault occurs when power is emitted between two conductors and turns into extreme heat with the ability to burn through insulation and other surrounding materials.

AFCIs turn off the source of power if it senses an arc in the wiring before overheating occurs to prevent a structure fire. Arcing faults are most commonly caused by damaged and/or deteriorated wires and cords. Wires can be damaged from puncturing of insulation, pinching, poorly installed outlets, cords caught in doors and furniture, natural aging, and exposure to heat and sunlight.

AFCIs can be installed in:

  • Family rooms
  • Dining Rooms
  • Living Rooms
  • Parlors
  • Libraries
  • Dens
  • Bedrooms
  • Sunrooms
  • Recreation Rooms
  • Closets
  • Hallways
  • And similar areas.

What is a GFCI outlet?

GFCI Outlet

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

GFCIs prevents people from severe or fatal electric shocks. Ground faults occur when current leaks from a circuit to an unintentional ground. There are a number of different types of GFCIs and are NEC requirements to be installed in the following: 

  • Bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Storage areas
  • Work areas
  • Outdoors
  • Crawl spaces
  • Unfinished basements
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry room
  • Boathouses
  • Rooftops
  • Indoor wet locations
  • Locker rooms
Falyn Eaden
Falyn Eaden

Working as Project Management Officer at CORL Technologies and armed with a B.S. in English & Professional Communication and an M.S. in Cyber Security, Falyn works to create environments that protects and represents the world around us. He loves life, fast-paced environments, flag football, eating and exploring new things.

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