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Ground Fault (Circuit) Interrupter

GF(C)I stands for Ground Fault (Circuit) Interrupter. These devices are designed to prevent electrical shock by interrupting a circuit.  Receptacles are found in areas where water is located such as bathrooms, kitchens, outside areas, and around pools and breakers can be installed in your panel.

Unfortunate events such as dropping a hair dryer in water or radio in a bathtub causing electrocution are what spawned code requirements to include GFIs to be located in the necessary areas. The GFI is designed to trip at the breaker or receptacle to remove the shock hazard, should it detect a difference in the currents.

Code states that GFCI receptacles should be installed at all exterior locations, garages, bathrooms, all kitchen counter tops, unfinished basements and areas above bare concrete floors.

So what’s the difference between a GFI and an AFCI or Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter? 


The function of the GFI is to protect people from the deadly effects of electric shock that could occur if parts of an electrical appliance or tool become electrified due to a ground fault. The function of the AFCI is to protect the branch circuit wiring from dangerous arcing faults that could initiate an electrical fire.

An arc fault is an unanticipated arc created by current flowing through an unplanned path. Arcing creates high intensity heating at the point of the arc results in burned particles that will easily ignite surrounding material, such as wood framing or insulation.

AFCIs use advanced electronic technology to monitor the circuit for the presence of “normal” and “dangerous” arcing conditions. Using equipment at home such as a motor driven vacuum cleaner or even turning off a light switch are considered normal arcing conditions. A dangerous arc occurs for many reasons such as a tree branch hitting a power line creating a current discharge either between to conductors or the ground.  

AFCIs are intended to alleviate the effects of arc faults by de-energizing the circuit when an arc fault is detected. Code requires AFCI’s on all bedroom and lighting circuits. 

Current code standards dictates AFCI devices be placed in all general living areas including bedrooms.

Poss Electric has installed GFI’s and AFCI’s all over North Metro Atlanta including Roswell, Woodstock, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Marietta, Smyrna, Acworth, Kennesaw, Canton and more. Call us today to safeguard your house and discuss your options for circuit protection today! 


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