Finished basement outlets, GFCI or AFCI?




Last Updated January 21, 2018 06:21 AM

I'm wondering how combos of AFCI & GFCI protection on breakers and outlets affect overall circuit safety & performance. What I mean is, how do different combinations of GFCI and/or AFCI protection relate when applied on a circuit breaker and/or an outlet?

Some combinations I've heard/thought of already are as follows, but I'm not sure how the different protection methods and redundancy between the same kinds of protection can help or hurt one another. The items in bold are the ones in particular I'd like to learn more about. How does the combination of safety devices interact with one another? Assume the circuit is grounded (e.g. connected via NM 14/2 with ground wire hooked up properly throughout.

regular breaker with overcurrent protection + regular outlet reg breaker + GFCI outlet GFCI breaker + GFCI outlet AFCI breaker + GFCI outlet AFCI & GFCI combo breaker + GFCI outlet AFCI & GFCI combo breaker +...
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Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters or AFCI’s and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters or GFCI’s are distinctively two different important safety devices serving completely different purposes. AFCI’s are designed to prevent fires and GFCI’s are designed to prevent electrical shock. Combination devices integrating AFCI and GFCI protection together inside one unit are anticipated to be manufactured and become available in the near future.

When AFCI and GFCI protection are used in conjunction with each other, your home is protected using the most modern level of fire protection and electrical shock devices available. If you have any questions or need assistance with AFCI breaker protection and GFCI outlet installation in your home, call or e-mail your personal electricians at K&G Electrical Services providing FREE estimates always! 603-860-0324.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter - AFCI Information

As documented by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, home wiring...

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you need to only use a AFCI breaker in your breaker box. A GFI is only for a ground fault. The AFCI breaker performs a different job entirely from GFIs, Ground Fault Interrupter (GFCI) breakers and outlets. A GFI protects you from becoming part of the circtuit and getting a shock. The AFCI breaker protects you and your house from a fire. How? Well, when a Hot wire makes a solid contact with a ground or a neutral, the current draw will be high enough to trip the breaker. But if the contact is intermittent and not a solid contact due to loose or corroded connections or failing insulation, what develops is an arc. The arc causes heat, which left uncorrected could eventually wind up causing a fire. The AFCI breaker detects an arc by the characteristic wave an arc causes in the electrical flow. When it sees an arc fault of large enough magnitude, it will trip the breaker. House,s being built these days all bedrooms and garage, basement, All must have its own AFCI. Hope this...

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GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) or AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets in your home and your exercise equipment don’t and probably won’t ever get along with each other. GFCI and AFCI outlets are designed to protect you and your home.

Due to the design, amperage requirements, and the way that electric motors work, if you find that your treadmill is tripping the switch on either of these types of circuits or outlets you will need to move your treadmill to a standard outlet or circuit.

GFCI – Ground Fault

As part of the design of your treadmill or incline trainer the ground is used to disperse a lot of extra static energy. This use of the ground will cause your GFCI outlet to trip the button every time you use your exercise equipment, and you will have to press reset.

AFCI – Arc Fault

Your treadmill runs on an electric motor. These motors as part of normal use may arc within the motor....

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A very cost-effective way to provide overcurrent protection to the entire electrical circuit in your home is to use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) circuit breaker.

Alternatively, you can buy a combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) breaker that has both GFCI and AFCI protection. An arc fault is similar to lightning. It is a highly energized plasma discharge that jumps the air from an energized source to a ground, like you.

As the discharge occurs it converts to very high heat and can melt insulation from wires and start fires with surrounding combustible materials.

The National Electric Code (NEC) first required arc fault protection in bedrooms effective 2002 (1999 code). In 2014 section 201.12 of the NEC code required new construction to provide Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter protection in kitchens and the laundry room in addition to bedrooms.

So the easiest way to provide combined GFCI and AFCI protection is a combination AFCI/GFCI...

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Life savers

GFCI outlets, technically called GFCI receptacles, save lives.

GFCI stands for “ground fault circuit interrupter”, sometimes called a GFI. Its purpose is to help protect users against electrical shock.

If you’re in the bathroom and you put your hand accidentally down in a sink filled with water, while holding a plugged in hair dryer; it may shock or electrocute you, if the outlet is not GFCI protected. The same is true in the kitchen, if you were holding an electric device and you accidentally put your hand in the sink while holding the device, it might shock, kill or injure you.

Where do you put GFCI’s

Recommended locations:

Outdoors, patios, porches, fountain areas (since 1973)Bathrooms (since 1975)Garages, carports (since 1978)Spas (since 1981)Kitchens, cooking areas (since 1987)Crawl spaces and unfinished basements (since 1990)Wet bar sinks (since 1993)Laundry rooms and utility sinks (since 2005)

Local building...

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Across the U.S. approximately 4,400 people are injured and an additional 400 die each year resulting from electrical hazards annually. Add in electrical fire, and you have what results in an estimated $1.6 billion in property damage each year. Could these accidents have been prevented? When it comes to electrical safety, what you don’t know can hurt you.

GFCI Outlets

GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. A GFCI is required in any areas with an increased risk of shock due to electrical hazards, such as water. In order to protect you from electrical hazards, a GFCI monitors electrical current, turning off an electrical circuit when it detects an imbalance - current flowing along an unintended path. Think of a GFCI as a small, extra-sensitive circuit breaker built right into an outlet to protect you against electrocution – even in outlets that are not grounded. GFCIs are currently required for use in:

Bathrooms Kitchens Laundry and utility rooms Garages...
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Fencepost wrote:

As a rule of thumb (I say that because I can't cite code, though I'm pretty sure it is in there), dedicated circuits -- even ones with receptacles -- are not required to be GFCI protected even where GFCI receptacles are required. However, to be considered a "dedicated circuit" the receptacle must be a single, not a duplex, and there may be no other receptacles on that circuit.

An exception to the exception is hot tubs/spas/jetted tubs/pool pumps & heaters. Those are required to be GFCI protected even if dedicated circuits. That's because people immerse themselves in the water, and an electrical fault could be deadly.

In the case of a sump pump, the sump should only be accessed for servicing, and safe work practices dictate that power is disconnected before servicing. So the risk of shock is low. In addition, the pump is considered critical equipment, and a tripped GFCI could cause catastrophic damage, so an exception is typically...

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AFCIs and GFCIs are both NEC requirements to increase the safety and reduce the risk of injury within buildings. These fault circuit interrupters achieve this goal in very different ways. Knowing their purpose is vital for keeping people safe.

What is an AFCI outlet?

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters

An AFCI is a type of outlet that prevents fires caused by arcing faults. An arc fault occurs when power is emitted between two conductors and turns into extreme heat with the ability to burn through insulation and other surrounding materials.

AFCIs turn off the source of power if it senses and arc in the wiring before overheating occurs to prevent a structure fire. Arcing faults are most commonly caused by damaged and/or deteriorated wires and cords. Wires can be damaged from puncturing of insulation, pinching, poorly installed outlets, cords caught in doors and furniture, natural aging, and exposure to heat and sunlight....

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I want to add a surface-mounted GFCI outlet on the wall in an unfinished basement (for a washing machine). The wiring going to the outlet will be 12/2 NM.

I think I can figure out how to do it if I just use a metal box and metal conduit. But, I am wondering if there is a way that I can do it using plastic/PVC instead of metal. I am thinking of using this type of PVC box:


and then running the 12/2 NM wire down along the wall through 1/2-inch PVC conduit to get to the box.

If I do that, my question is, "Is there some type of fitting or adapter that goes on the top end of the PVC conduit where the 12/2 NM enters the PVC conduit?"

If so, is that type of fitting shown anywhere in this product brochure?:


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Thinking of adding a new electrical outlet to your home?

Here’s our 3-step process to make sure you install the right outlet for your home and your needs.

Step 1: Know if you need GFCI and AFCI outlets

Most electrical outlets in your home should have some sort of built-in safety device. And there are 2 types: GFCI outlets and AFCI outlets. (You can identify these outlets easily as they will have “reset” and “test” buttons on their face.)

But to know if you need one or both of them, you must first know the difference between them.

GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets protect you from electrocution. They contain a small circuit breaker that trips if it detects a short circuit. AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter) outlets help protect your home from electrical fires. Similar to GFCI outlets, AFCI outlets contain a small breaker that trips when it detects a dangerous arc. (Electrical arcs create heat that can light insulation, framing and...
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Unfinished Basement GFCI Receptacles

Unfinished basement GFCI receptacles installation or GFCI protection for a regular type outlet receptacles installed in an unfinished basement is required by the 2008 NEC (National Electrical Code).

GFCI – (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)

Unfinished basement it’s an area or portion of the basement area that is not intended to be used as a habitable room.

Habitable room it’s a space arranged for living, eating or sleeping purposes (must conform to local building codes to be listed as such), but does not include bathroom / toilet rooms, laundries, pantries, foyers or hallways.

If you have a sump pump installed in an unfinished basement, it will have to be plugged into a GFCI receptacle, or an outlet protected by a GFCI breaker, just like the crawlspace sump pump. If you’re concerned about the GFCI receptacle tripping when the power to the sump pump is needed the most, battery operated backup sump pump would...

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It is a good size, around 1215 sq ft. I'm here in Michigan, outside Detroit. There are plugs on the other side of course, where the hot water heater, water softener, pump, etc. is, but the builder for some reason did not put any plugs on the other walls......................wanting to finish it later so of course I need to be up to code.

Also, just found this about AFCI for Michigan.

"On Feb 8th, 2016, arc-fault circuit interruption devices will NOT be required on ANY circuit in 1- and 2-family dwellings and townhouses not more than 3 stories above grade plane in heightwith a separate means of egress and their accessory structures. per the Michigan Residential Code, Chapter...

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Thanks for answers. I really do appreciate it. i think i completely underestimated the task of wiring my own house.

I was also just browsing around on the site -- there is a mention of 600mm max height for washer dryer in laundry room if there is also a tub there -- my new laundry room will have a washtub -- is this spec. true in general, or only if the laundry room has a tub? Or is this spec. false for ontario. Furthermore, the post mentions that if the tub is there, all outlets have to be GFCI -- does the washing machine recepticle need to be GFCI? I don't believe i have seen a GFCI dryer recepticle, but if there is a tub in the laundry room, how do i interpret the GFCI issue?

I will be doing the mechanical room next: The house is in the country, so we will be on propane and well / septic. There will be a well pump and a pressure tank, a propane furnace, water softener and iron remover, HRV (15A), an ejector pit and a sump pump, and finally an electric water...

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Your GFI outlet has five different connectors, and it's important to know which is used for what.

The ground screw is connected to the ground wires coming and going to the box.

There are two sets of connectors for hot (black) and neutral (white) wires. One set, labeled LINE, is used for power coming in to the box, and the other, labeled LOAD, for outlets that will be "downstream" of the GFCI, and be protected by it. Make sure you know which is which- the old outlet will be labeled, as will the new.

If you can't see the markings on the old outlet, turn the power on briefly, and use your non-contact tester to find the hot wire- that's the one bringing power into the box. You'll connect that wire, and its white companion, to the LINE connectors. (And then turn the power off again.)

This GFCI outlet has both push-in and screw terminal connectors; some old timers (and some new-timers) will only use the screw terminals, but actually, the push-in connectors are...

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This PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CONTRACT (“Contract”), made this ____________ day of __________________, 20__, is entered by and between _________________________________, a professional home or building inspector (referred to herein as the “Inspector”), and __________________________________, a professional consultant licensed or certified in the field of ___________________________ (“Consultant”), for the solicitation and delivery of professional consulting services as more specifically set forth in the following terms and conditions of this Contract.


WHEREAS, this Contract relates to the inspection of a structure (referred to herein as the “Property”) located at the following address: _________________________________________________________, and

WHEREAS, this Contract is made in conjunction with the Inspector’s separate contract with a third-party client (“Client”) for a general inspection of a residential or commercial building,...

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