Electricians commonly talk in acronyms that are often confusing for homeowners. But when it comes to GCFI and ACFI receptacles, it’s worth knowing what they stand for, since it directly involves the safety of your home.
Though the acronyms look similar, their functions are very different, but both essential: GCFI receptacles protect against shock and ACFI receptacles protect against fire. One guards human safety directly, and one guards your home’s safety (and anyone inside.) Here is what you need to know:
GCFI: How It Works
GCFI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. It constantly monitors the flow of electricity. The second the electricity flowing into the circuit differs even the slightest from the amount of electricity flowing out, the GCFI shuts off electrical power. This lowers the risk of electric shock, which has the potential to be deadly. In fact, a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission study found that 47 percent of the electrocutions it studied could have been prevented by installing GCFIs in the home. Depending on where the outlet is located. National Electrical Code (NEC) requires GCFI installation – typically for outlets outdoors or near an indoor water source.
Test your GCFI-equipped outlets every month by pressing the “test” button. If it’s working correctly, power should shut off and the “reset” button should pop out. Press reset and power should come back on. If it doesn’t work like it should, it’s time to get a new GCFI!
ACFI: How It Works
ACFI and GCFI receptacles work together to provide the maximum protection for each circuit. ACFIs (Arc fault circuit interrupters) were introduced in homes in 2013 to prevent another specific electrical threat: fires.
An arc fault is an electrical danger caused by overheated, damaged or overly stressed electrical wires. ACFIs are so advanced that they can distinguish between arcs that pose a danger and arcs that are harmless. Similar to how a GCFI functions, ACFI devices immediately shut down electrical power once they detect a problem.
ACFI receptacles should also be tested monthly. Press the test button and if the breaker doesn’t trip, you need ACFI replacement.
Power Surges: Another Threat
While GFCI and ACFI devices are necessary preventative measures, they don’t completely protect against power surges, which can severely damage expensive electronics. Talk to our team about installing a whole-home surge protection system as a final safeguard against power surge damage.
Need a Replacement?
If your GCFI or ACFI device isn’t working correctly, all repairs and replacements should be handled by a licensed electrician – Castle Electric. Just fill out a quick work order request and we’ll get back to you in no time!