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How do I identify a combination AFCI (CAFCI) circuit breaker?
Friday, June 29, 2018
Combination AFCI breakers have a TEST button on the breaker. But so do GFCI breakers, so the challenge becomes determining whether you are looking at an CAFCI or GFCI breaker. Breakers manufactured by General Electric, Siemens, and Eaton/Cutler Hammer will have the letters “CAFCI,” “AFCI” or “AFI” printed in very small letters on the face of the breaker that are visible on the front of the breaker with dead front in place, like in the photo above. You may need a magnifying glass to read it.
Unfortunately, combination AFCI breakers by Square-D/Homeline have the identification on a surface of the breaker that is hidden by the metal dead front. But they can be told apart by the color of the TEST buttons: white for AFCI and yellow for GFCI. The test buttons on the other brands are either yellow or blue. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has provided a chart, shown below, to help in identifying the breakers.
An older version of these breakers, before combo AFCI was required and previous to approximately 2008, manufactured by Square D/Homeline has green or blue test buttons.
A new type of breaker, called a DFCI for Dual Function Circuit Interrupter, has a purple test button if manufactured by Square-D/Homeline. The version made by GE is has a red test button. Both are marked in small letters on face as dual function. They provide both CAFCI and GFCI protection for a circuit. We don’t see to many of them yet.
Also see our blog post What is the difference between GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers?
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