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What's the Difference between GFCI and AFCI?

Posted by: Cooper MechanicalWednesday, September 23, 2015

Some electrical and refrigeration choices require more research than others.

Electrical Connections

Electrical and refrigeration equipment and lingo can get confusing quickly. If you’re not an expert in the field, you probably have no idea what most of the acronyms stand for let along what they mean for your project. Read on for critical pointers about two types of circuit interrupters that could protect your family:

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

More than a weird abbreviation, this kind of circuit interrupter is designed to improve safety standards in your home. A ground fault circuit interrupter has sensors that track current levels as they enter and exit. The goal of this is to maintain balance and monitor the current so that you will be notified if the levels become uneven. When the levels become uneven, it signifies that something has disrupted the current and needs to be addressed.

Whatever has interrupted the flow of electricity, the GFCI can instantly sense it and shut the current down. The most common scenario is that a person has interacted with the current, so the GFCI functions as a safeguard against burns, shocks, and electrocutions.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters

This type of circuit interrupter is also designed to provide safety override in the event of electrical overload. The emphasis with the AFCI is more focused on preventing electrical fires, which are typically caused when electricity leaks out of the system and overheats in bad wiring behind walls.

The AFCI is designed to detect electricity leaks and shut the flow of power off at the source in these scenarios.

If you are still feeling a bit confused, our friendly team at Cooper Mechanical has your back. Click here to get more information about electrical and refrigeration safety or to speak with one of our experts today.