Tag: electrical system safety

GFCIs and AFCIs: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to items that encompass your electrical safety, often the question is asked: what’s the difference between GFCIs and AFCIs? After all, their names sound similar, and they both help prevent electrical shocks and fires. However, there are a few considerable differences between the two. And when maintaining your home’s electricity safety, you should be aware of their unique qualities.

Roman Electric recommends Milwaukee homeowners understand how both GFCIs and AFCIs work. We have assembled a comprehensive guide below detailing the qualities of these two safety devices.


GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) are a safety mechanism commonly designed for outlets, although they can also be found on circuit breakers and extension cords. They were designed to protect against ground faults, hence their name. GFCIs detect both hot and neutral wire on a circuit. They examine the stability of the current, and whether it’s suitable to pass. When the current is deemed unstable, the GFCI effectively trips or shuts off power to the outlet.

As described, GFCIs mainly protect against ground faults. Ground faults are when electricity travels through the ground. When electricity is on this path, shock and electrical fires can occur, which GFCIs help to prevent. However, GFCIs can also be installed on circuits containing no ground wire. Although they won’t have a ground for electricity to pass through, they can still help protect against the severity of shock.

According to the NEC, GFCIs are required to be in every bathroom, kitchen, and garage of a home. The reason for this is the outlet’s proximity to water sources.

Note: You can easily tell which outlets are GFCI by the “test” and “reset” buttons located between the two plugs. It is recommended you use these to test your GFCIs once a month. More information can be found here.


AFCIs (arc fault circuit interrupters) are another safety mechanism more commonly designed for circuit breakers, although they can also be found on outlets. Like GFCIs, they also protect against unstable electricity, primarily for short circuits and electrical overloads. AFCIs essentially detect all electrical arcs on a circuit, hence their name. Once an arc is determined unstable, the AFCI trips and shuts off the circuit.

Essentially, an AFCI strengthens the already existing function of your circuit breakers. Most circuit breakers are already designed to trip during overloads and short circuits. However, they do not have the ability to constantly detect specific changes in an arc. With an AFCI, arcs are monitored more specifically, helping to prevent issues before they become too detrimental.

Section 210.12 of the 2014 NEC requires AFCI protection on all branch circuits located in every bedroom, kitchen, dining room, and living room of a home.

When maintaining electrical safety in your Milwaukee home, keep in mind the qualities and differences between GFCIs and AFCIs. Contact Roman Electric when you would like to have these defense mechanisms installed in your home. Call us at 414-369-3798 for affordable outlet and circuit breaker services.

Electrical System Safety Tips

You can never have too much electrical system safety! Practicing electrical safety in your Milwaukee home not only prevents costly repairs – it may even save your life. Your home’s electrical system distributes the electricity that runs your home, and without proper safety precautions, you are at risk for damaged appliances, shock, or even an electrical fire. Fortunately, you’re not alone when it comes to electrical safety, as you have Roman Electric for guidance!

Follow these electrical system safety tips below – and keep your home and household safe!

Know Your Circuit Breakers

  • Never let the metal box in your home be a mystery, as the circuit breaker box is a crucial tool for controlling your electrical system and boosting electrical safety.
  • Each breaker distributes power to a certain area of your home and should be studied to know their capabilities.
  • By knowing your circuit breaker, you can shut off power when currents are reaching dangerous levels.
  • Circuit breakers also hold the ability to trip, or quickly shut off during an electrical overload, and this should signify calling a professional to diagnose the issue.

Monitor Extension Cord Usage

  • Extension cords should never be more than a temporary solution when you need power, as they do not possess the durability to become a permanent energy source.
  • Always examine your extension cords before use, and discard ones with frayed wiring, damaged casing, or burn marks.
  • Extension cords should also be checked if they’re suited for indoor or outdoor weather, as well as their AWG rating, which determines how much power it can handle.
  • Extension cords can easily be tripped over, meaning you should keep them aligned along walls and corners.
  • If you need additional outlets, Roman Electric provides the services to install new outlets and minimize the reliance on extension cords for your home!

Maintain Your Smoke Detectors

  • The NEC requires smoke detectors in each bedroom and every floor of a home.
  • Test your smoke detectors once a month to ensure their functionality but be aware testing them does sound the alarm.
  • To test a smoke detector, locate and hold down the test button on the smoke detector, and if the alarm can be heard loudly, your smoke detector is properly working.

Maintain your GFCIs

  • Your GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets add essential electrical system safety and should be maintained and tested to ensure their functionality.
  • GFCI outlets have a safety mechanism that shuts off power when electrical currents are on an unintended path, lessening the severity of potential shock.
  • The National Electric Code (NEC) requires GFCIs in every bathroom and kitchen in a home, and you can choose to install additional ones in other rooms.
  • Keep track of where every GFCI is in your home and remember to test them once a month to ensure their functionality.
  • To test a GFCI, press the “reset” button located on the outlet and plug in a small appliance. Then, press the “test” button on the outlet and if the appliance has turned off, your GFCI is working properly. Press the “reset” button to return the GFCI to normal.

Schedule an Annual Electrical Inspection

  • An electrical inspection can help determine the status of your electrical system, identifying any issues along with cost-effective solutions to restore electrical safety.
  • Electrical inspections should be done once a year, as it spots small issues before they become repair problems and keeps the system up-to-date.
  • Contact Roman Electric for your next electrical inspection to help keep your electrical system safe.

Prepare for an Electrical Fire

  • In the case of an electrical fire, you must have ample preparations and items on standby to keep your family safe.
  • Purchase a Type C Fire Extinguisher and a fire-retardant blanket to have ready for an electrical fire.
  • Plan an escape route for your family: Know every door and window location, as well as clearing their space of objects for easier escape.
  • As we mentioned before, get to know your circuit breakers so you can shut off power when an appliance or outlet begins to spark.

Never wait to practice electrical system safety. By following our tips, you will help keep your family, home and belongings safe. If you require Roman Electric’s services, contact us today! Milwaukee homeowners deserve the best electrical services in Wisconsin and expert team is ready to assist! We can install new outlets as well as perform your next electrical inspection. Give us a call at 414-369-3798 to schedule an appointment and meet your local professionals.