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What is a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter (DFCI)?
Saturday, July 21, 2018
A circuit breaker that provides both Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) and Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) is called a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter DFCI). The 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC) has mandated both AFCI and GFCI protection for many kitchen and laundry circuits, and the DFCI breaker provides both in one breaker. Some states, including Florida, have not adopted the new 2014 NEC yet, and we have only seen one of them so far. But DFCI breakers are on the horizon.
Both CAFCI and GFCI are safety devices. A CAFCI breaker guards against arcing or sparking caused by frayed wires and loose connection, which is a leading cause of house fires. GFCI breakers provide shock protection for the circuit by recognizing if an current has strayed outside its intended path and, if your body is where the current has leaked to, you could be shocked, burned, or even electrocuted.
Although most CAFCI breakers provide GFCI-type shock protection, the current level to trip and response time does not meet the standards for a “Class A” GFCI, so they are not rated for GFCI-protection and the DFCI is a big improvement.
Also, see our blog post What is the difference between GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers?
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