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Residential electrical fires occur around 70,000 times a year. A significant portion of these fires can be attributed to arc faults. An arc fault is the flow of electricity over an unintended path. These arcs can exceed temperatures of 10,000° F and easily ignite combustible materials in the home. AFCIs are devices that protect your home by detecting dangerous arcs and safely de-energizing the circuit.
Arc faults arise from a number of situations, including:
• Damaged wires
• Receptacle leakage
• Neutral leads pinched to grounded metal box
• Worn electrical insulation
• Loose electrical connections
• Shorted wires
• Wires or cords in contact with vibrating metal
• Overheated or stressed electrical cords and wires
• Misapplied/damaged appliances
A Branch/Feeder AFCI has the ability to detect and neutralize a parallel arc fault, which is the unintentional flow of electricity between two separate wires. There are three types of parallel arc faults: line-to-line, line-to-ground, and line-to-neutral. The Branch/Feeder AFCI is permitted by the 1999-2005 NEC® Code.
GE's Combination AFCI delivers 5 kinds of protection:
1.Parallel protection − Just like its Branch/Feeder counterpart, Combination AFCI can detect and neutralize parallel arc faults
2.Series Protection − A series arc fault is the unintended flow of electricity over a gap within a single wire. These arc faults were not detectable until advanced technology allowed the development of the Combination AFCI breaker.
3.Ground protection − Arcing between a single conductor and a ground line
5.Short circuit protection
The Combination AFCI represents advancement in technology and home protection. The 2008 NEC® Code mandates that all dwelling areas in the home have Combination AFCI protection:
• Living room
• Dining room
• Sun room
• Finished basement
• Rec room
A one-stop resource for AFCI safety information distributed by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
AFCI Selection Guide