A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is
designed to protect people from potentially hazardous ground faults
arising from the use of defective appliances or portable tools. It works
by comparing the amount of current going to and returning from
equipment. A GFCI protects against current leakage anywhere in a branch
circuit and thus protects against fires, overheating, and destruction of
wire insulation. It can prevent electrocution. GFCIs are generally
installed where electrical circuits may accidentally come into contact
An arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) protects the
branch circuit wiring from dangerous arcing faults. A dual function
AFCI/GFCI breaker combines arc-fault and ground-fault protection into
one solution for use on kitchen and laundry circuits. Related products
include portable and cord-connected GFCIs.
Members develop and monitor GFCI Standards. They contribute to the National Electrical Code® (NEC), which requires that GFCIs be used in all kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and outdoors.