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What is an AFCI outlet?

Video transcript:

What is an AFCI Outlet?

AFCI outlet can help prevent house fires

If you had a way to help prevent an electrical fire from starting in your home would you take advantage of it? Outlet branch circuit arc fault circuit interrupter outlets or AFCI do just that by detecting potentially dangerous arc faults, a cause of electrical fires in the home. These devices work to interrupt power flow before a fire can start.


AFCI outlet option

AFCI protection can be added by replacing just one standard outlet on a branch circuit with an AFCI outlet. Very often a more convenient option than other AFCI solutions, but let’s first talk a bit more about what arc faults are and what causes them to happen.


What is an arc fault?

An arc fault can occur when electric current unintentionally arcs outside the conductor without proper insulation, when this happens it can create intense heat which may over time ignite surrounding material such as wood or insulation and lead to a fire. There are different ways arcs may occur. Here you can see some examples of dangerous current flow. So what causes arc faults? Often unseen, arc faults can occur anywhere in your home’s electrical system such as within walls from nails or screws inadvertently driven into wires or from animals chewing on them, at loose electrical connections within electrical cords accidentally damaged by furniture resting or pressing upon them or through wires or cords damaged by age, heat, sunlight or humidity. AFCI outlets are specifically designed to detect these potentially dangerous arc faults and respond by interrupting power. This helps prevent the arc fault from leading to a fire and alerts you to the fact that there may be a problem with your wiring.


What’s the difference between GFCI and AFCI outlets?

You’re probably familiar with GFCI outlets although they look similar, AFCI outlets function to protect branch circuit wiring from potentially dangerous arcing faults that could ignite a fire. GFCIs function to protect people from potentially harmful or deadly electrical shocks that could result from electrical leakage associated with a ground fault. The current National Electrical Code requires AFCI protection in many rooms throughout the home. The code applies to both new construction and for branch circuit modifications or extensions. It’s also very easy to add AFCI protection to existing wiring in older homes AFCI outlets are the smart choice for arc fault detection and intervention. Thank you for joining me today to learn more visit

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