Ground Fault vs. Arc Fault

The world of electricity can be quite confusing sometimes.  How do you know what breaker does what? What do all the abbreviations mean? Well today we will start taking some of the confusion out of it by discussing the difference between Ground fault and Arc fault breakers.


GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) was designed in order to protect both people and equipment from electrical shock. When a ground fault occurs there is a transformer inside of the breaker that senses a current imbalance and generates a small current output that is electronically amplified to trip the circuit breaker. This type of breaker is used for any application that is near near water or wet locations, such as bathrooms, unfinished basements, garages, etc.


AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) was designed in order to detect arcing faults in wiring, appliances and equipment, in order to prevent electrical fires. The AFCI circuit breaker contains an integrated processor that recognizes the unique current and/or voltage signatures associated with arcing faults. This type of breaker is required for all 120V, single-phase, 15 and 20A circuits such as bedrooms, family rooms, living rooms, sun rooms, etc.


There is also a dual purpose circuit breaker (arc fault/ground fault). This breaker is required for 120V, single-phase, 15 and 20A circuits in kitchen and laundry areas.



C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains