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AFCI & GFCI Outlets: What You Need to Know

When it comes to electrical safety, what you don’t know can hurt you. The fact is, approximately 4,400 people are injured and an additional 400 die each year as a result of electrical hazards. In addition, electrical fires account for an estimated $1.6 billion in property damages each year. That’s why, as a homeowner, you need to know that there are two electrical upgrades that need to be installed to protect your home. Luckily, as specialists in electrical wiring and water heater repair, we’re here to help you differentiate between the two outlets. Here’s what you need to know.


GFCI Outlets & How They Work

A ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is required in areas with an increased risk of shock due to electrical hazards, such as those near water. They protect against electrical shock caused by ground faults or leaking electrical currents. In order to protect occupants from electrical hazards, a GFCI outlet monitors the current in a circuit and interrupts or stops the flow of power to that circuit if there’s a power spike or loss of power detected. 

Think of a GFCI as a small, extra-sensitive circuit breaker that’s built into an outlet to guard against electrocution, even in outlets that aren’t grounded. GFCIs are currently required for use in:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry and utility rooms
  • Garages
  • Crawl spaces and unfinished basements
  • Wet bars
  • The exterior of your home/business
  • Spa and pool areas

You also need to keep in mind that GFCI outlets should never be used by freezers, refrigerators or other appliances; otherwise, they can trip without you knowing it.

AFCI Outlets & How They Work

Arc-fault circuit interrupters, or AFCIs, help protect you from electrical dangers, albeit a bit differently. ACFIs protect against fire-causing arcing, much like how GFCIs protect against stray currents. When an arc is detected, the power to the circuit is interrupted. Arcing can be caused by any number of factors, including damaged or worn wires, incorrect wiring and loose or wet connections. 

The reason why some electricians recommend AFCI outlets is because the newer ones are able to distinguish between dangerous arc faults and normal arcing caused by fluorescent lighting and some dimmers and switches. In fact, AFCIs are required in:

  • Bedrooms
  • Any sleeping area: dens, near foldout couches, etc.
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry areas

When you’re searching online for “24 hour electrical service”, there’s only one name you should trust. Schedule your service with Efficient Systems, Inc. today by calling us at (317) 293-6510. You can also fill out our online request form. We serve Indianapolis and surrounding areas in IN.