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In your home, for example, there are guidelines for the specific placements of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) and Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) as set by the National Electric Code (NEC). These NEC standards aren’t just advice; they’re absolutely necessary to ensure the protection of your property from an electrical emergency.
Due to the life-saving potential of GFCIs and AFCIs, the NEC has recently expanded its code to include the majority of circuits in the home. At McCormick Electrical Services Inc., we can assist with any of your AFCIs, GFCIs, and surge protectors in South Bend.
Need help with installation, repairs, or maintenance for your AFCIs, GFCIs, and surge protectors in South Bend? For 100% satisfaction guaranteed service, give ME a call at (574) 830-8118 or contact ME online.
What Are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)?
GFCIs are the most classic type of electrical circuit protector out there.
They are very common and are now built into the plugs of:
- Space heaters
- Power tools
- And most all high-load electrical appliances
In fact, the NEC requires this. If you’ve never heard of a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter before, it’s simpler than it sounds.
A GFCI is a safety device that automatically monitors the flow of electricity. When electrical appliances are working as they should, the electricity will flow from what is called “hot” to “neutral.” If there is ever a disruption or imbalance in this flow, the GFCI will trip or interrupt (get it?) the circuit and cut off the electricity. As a result, this prevents the potential for a dangerous, or even deadly, electrical shock.
What Can You Do for At-Home Prevention?
Test your GFCI outlets (or breakers) monthly. When you press the “test” button on your device, power should shut off and the “reset” button should activate (pop-out) with a noticeable click.
When you hear this click, you’ll get the peace of mind of knowing everything is working flawlessly. Just press the “reset” button again to restore power. No click? It’s time for a GFCI replacement—ASAP! All GFCI replacements and repairs should be performed by a qualified electrician.
What Are Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)?
An arc-fault circuit interrupter, more commonly known as an AFCI, is a type of circuit breaker that breaks the circuit when it detects electric arcs that indicate loose connections in the wiring. These loose connections can sometimes become hot enough to ignite house fires and often form slowly over time.
AFCI vs GFCI
AFCIs are similar to GFCIs in that they are a safety device necessary for electrical protection in your home. The main difference between AFCI & GCFI is that GFCIs protect against electrocution while AFCIs protect against electrical fires.
Just as the GFCI automatically monitors electrical flow, an AFCI watches out for the circuit, making sure there is no large power spike caused by electrical arcs. They’re so good at this that they can differentiate between different types of arcs, both harmless and consequential. If a potentially dangerous arc is detected, in just a fraction of a second, the AFCI will disconnect the circuit and save the day—and your electrical system.
Our Tips for At-Home Prevention
Test your AFCI breakers monthly. With the break in the “on” position, press the “test” button. This should cause the breaker to trip and power to turn off. If the breaker trips, your AFCI is working properly. Simply switch the breaker back to the “on” position and you’re good to go.
If the breaker did not trip when you pressed the “test” button, it’s time for an AFCI replacement—ASAP. All AFCI replacements and repairs should be performed by a qualified electrician, like ours at McCormick Electrical Services Inc..
What Is a Power Surge?
A power surge is any sudden spike in voltage or current.
They occur on a daily basis from things such as:
- Lightning strikes
- Short circuits
- Power outages
- Tripped circuit breakers
- Power transitions
- Electrical malfunctions
Power surges can be more expensive, dangerous, and common than you might think.
A power surge from lightning or a line issue is capable, at the very least, of damaging the household products that stay plugged into your walls, such as your:
- Stereo system
- And desktop computer
Rather than taking the risk of damaging your expensive electronics and appliances, get whole-home surge protection and rest easy. At the very least, make sure you are using plug-in surge protectors for your high-priced electrical items.
Is a GFCI the Same as a Surge Protector?
“I have GFCIs and AFCIs installed. Does that mean my entire electrical system is protected?” We’d love to say that, yes, there is nothing else to worry about, but unfortunately, circuit interrupters cannot guarantee protection against strong power surges.
There is a big difference between GFCIs and surge protectors. GFCIs work to protect people from experiencing an electric shock in wet areas while a surge protector guards appliances and electronics against sudden voltage increases
Whole-Home Surge Protection
Whole-home systems, unlike individual plug-in surge protectors, are designed specifically for the largest scale power surges. They can really weather the storm, no biggie! If you’d like a safety evaluation of your residential property, our South Bend AFCI, GFCI, and surge protection specialists are on their way.
We are fully licensed, bonded, and insured to repair, install, and even upgrade your old system to the newest model! And if you’re not sure what’s wrong, we can troubleshoot the problem for you.
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