CIRCUIT INTERRUPTERS & SURGE PROTECTION
Protect Your Home, Live In Comfort
Electrical Circuit Interrupters
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 their code to include the majority of circuits in the home.
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, hair dryers, power tools and most all high-load electrical appliances. In fact, the NEC requires this.
If you’ve never heard of 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.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)
AFCIs are similar to GFCIs in that they are a safety device necessary for electrical protection in your home or business. The main difference 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, they can even 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!
What can you do 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.
AFCI vs GFCI
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 TV, 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.
I have GFCIs and AFCIs installed. Does that mean that 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. The only way to truly stop any surge in its tracks is with a whole-home surge protection system, installed and monitored by McCormick.
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 or commercial property, McCormick is on its 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.
As always, if you’ve got a question, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.