LaCarrubba Electric


What is it? - A "GFCI" is a ground fault circuit interrupter. Itr is an inexpensive electrical device that, if installed in household branch circuits, could prevent over two-thirds of the approximately 300 electrocutions still occurring each year in and around the home. It could also prevent thousands of burn and electric shock injuries that occur each year.

The Problem - An unintentional electric path between a source of current and a grounded surface is referred to as a "ground-fault." Ground faults occur when current is leaking somewhere, in effect, electricity is escaping to the ground. How it leaks is very important. If your body provides a path to the ground for this leakage, you could be injured, burned, severely shocked, or electrocuted.

How the GFCI works - In the home's wiring system, the GFCI constantly monitors electricity flowing in a circuit, to sense any loss of current. If the current flowing through the circuit differs by a small amount from that returning, the GFCI quickly switches off power to that circuit. The GFCI interrupts power faster than a blink of an eye to prevent a lethal dose of electricity. You may receive a painful shock, but you should not be electrocuted or receive a serious shock injury.

When to consider a GFCI -
In homes built to comply with the National Electrical Code, GFCI protection is required for most outdoor receptacles (since 1973), bathroom receptacle circuits (since 1975), garage wall outlets (since 1978), kitchen receptacles (since 1987), and all receptacles in crawl spaces and unfinished basements (since 1990).

A GFCI should be used whenever operating electrically powered garden equipment (mower, hedge trimmer, edger, etc.). Consumers can obtain similar protection by using GFCIs with electric tools (drills, saws, sanders, etc.) for do-it-yourself work in and around the house.



What is it? - An “AFCI” is an arc fault circuit interrupter. AFCIs are newly-developed electrical devices designed to protect against fires caused by arcing faults in the home electrical wiring.

The Problem - Annually, over 40,000 fires are attributed to home electrical wiring. These fires result in over 350 deaths and over 1,400 injuries each year. Arcing faults are one of the major causes of these fires. When unwanted arcing occurs, it generates high temperatures that can ignite nearby combustibles such as wood, paper, and carpets. Arcing faults often occur in damaged or deteriorated wires and cords. Some causes of damaged and deteriorated wiring include puncturing of wire insulation from picture hanging or cable staples, poorly installed outlets or switches, cords caught in doors or under furniture, furniture pushed against plugs in an outlet, natural aging, and cord exposure to heat vents and sunlight.

How the GFCI works -The AFCI circuitry continuously monitors current flow through the AFCI. AFCIs use unique current sensing circuitry to discriminate between normal and unwanted arcing conditions. Once an unwanted arcing condition is detected, the control circuitry in the AFCI trips the internal contacts, thus de-energizing the circuit and reducing the potential for a fire to occur. An AFCI should not trip during normal arcing conditions, which can occur when a switch is opened or a plug is pulled from a receptacle.

When to consider an AFCI -
The 1999 edition of the National Electrical Code, the model code for electrical wiring adopted by many local jurisdictions, requires AFCIs for receptacle outlets in bedrooms, effective January 1, 2002. Although the requirement is limited to only certain circuits in new residential construction, AFCIs should be considered for added protection in other circuits and for existing homes as well. Older homes with aging and deteriorating wiring systems can especially benefit from the added protection of AFCIs. AFCIs should also be considered whenever adding or upgrading a panel box while using existing branch circuit conductors.