How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

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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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about AFCI and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS:

• What is the breaker with a blue test button?

Does a septic pump or sump pump require a GFCI-receptacle?

 • What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?

Are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) really necessary and worth the trouble? 

What is the code requirement for GFCI protection for receptacles near a wet bar sink?

When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required? 

When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required?

Does a washing machine receptacle outlet require GFCI protection?

My spa tub stopped working. What's wrong?  

What does "listed and labeled" mean for an electrical component? 

What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) NOT protect against?  

Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required?

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?

What happens when you press the "TEST" button on a circuit breaker in an electric panel?

What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home? 

Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?

What is a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter (DFCI)? 

How I can tell if a receptacle outlet is tamper resistant?

What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?  

What is the difference between "grounded" and "grounding" electrical conductors? 

What does it mean when a wire is "overstripped" at a circuit breaker?

Why is there a GFCI breaker in the electric panel for the bathroom shower light and exhaust fan?

What is the switch on the wall with two pushbuttons? 

How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be spaced?  

How far above a kitchen countertop do electrical outlets have to be? 

How is it possible to provide both GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) and CAFCI (Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection for kitchen and laundry circuits?

My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?  

My GFCI reset button is hard to push and won't reset. What's wrong?

Why do some breakers in my electric panel have a "TEST" button on them?

    Visit our ELECTRICAL page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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