In 2024, the Electrical Safety Foundation surveyed occupations with electrical contracting, electrical design, electrical engineering, and electrical planning to gain an understanding of the performance of safety devices required in the National Electrical Code. The survey was conducted in California with a focus on Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) and Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs).

Key Findings:

  • 54% of electrical contractor service calls involved tripped breakers or fuses
    • Percent of tripped breakers by breaker type of fuses:
      • Standard circuit breakers: 28%
      • AFCI breakers: 23%
      • Fuses: 18%
      • GFCI breakers: 17%
      • Dual function AFCI / GFCI breakers: 14%
  • 74% of contractors saw evidence of dangerous arcing when responding to an AFCI-related service call


Tripping Causes:

  • The majority of circuit breaker trips were caused by the device working as intended. These trips prevented serious problems that could have resulted in loss of life or property.


Common Mistakes Encountered While Checking up on Tripped Overcurrent Protection:

  1. Inadequate Circuit Protection
    Only 56% of service calls involved circuits with the correct type of protection installed
  2. Overloaded Circuits 
    There is a need for additional circuits to prevent overloaded circuits
  3. Wiring Issues
    Contractors frequently encountered low-quality wires, poorly maintained wiring, and inadequate wiring
  4. Surge Protection
    Contractors mentioned the need for surge protective devices to protect electronics