AFCI Breaker Basics

In this article, we'll discuss the basics of an AFCI Breaker and how they work.


In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of an AFCI Breaker and how they work.

Scroll to the bottom to watch the YouTube tutorial.

Remember electricity is dangerous and can be fatal you should be qualified and competent to carry out any electrical work.

AFCI circuit breaker. This stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter.  These are required for circuits feeding bedrooms, hallways, kitchens etc. Again, check with the National Electric Code for exact details.

AFCI work also by being connected to both the hot and neutral wires. Inside this circuit breaker is a circuit board which is measuring the circuit and monitoring for patterns which indicate an arc fault is occurring. These are installed pretty much identically to how we saw the GFCI breaker. Under normal conditions the current flows through the hot, back through the neutral into the breaker. Then through the pigtail and back through the neutral bar.

But if for example, a screw was accidently inserted very close to the cable and removed the insulation to expose the copper wires, the electricity could now potentially jump across or arc from the hot wire and into the neutral. The arc is incredibly hot and causes most residential electrical fires. As the arc occurs its creates a unique signal in the electrical cable. The circuit breaker can detect this and will automatically trip to cut the power.  


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