In July 2023, the Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI) and The National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Low Voltage Distribution Equipment Section (LVDE) surveyed electrical contractors with experience in electrical contracting, design, engineering, and planning in Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. The goal of the survey was to gain an understanding of the performance of safety devices required in the National Electrical Code (NEC), including arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) devices in homes.

AFCIs are safety devices that protect your home against electrical fires caused by damaged wiring. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 50% of electrical fires can be prevented with proper AFCI protection, either with AFCI breakers in your electrical panel or with AFCI receptacles. This potential reduction in fires is why the NEC requires the devices in certain areas of the home, like living rooms, bedrooms, closets, kitchens, and laundry areas.

To gauge the effectiveness of AFCIs in homes, survey respondents were asked about responding to AFCI service calls. Of the contractors surveyed, 100% saw evidence of dangerous arcing when responding to an AFCI-related service call, while 58% of service calls involved tripped breakers or fuses. According to respondents, the percent of tripped breakers by breaker type of fuse, included standard circuit breakers: 30%, fuses: 24%, AFCI breakers: 17%, GFCI breakers: 15%, and dual function AFCI/GFCI breakers: 14%. Many respondents noted that the majority of circuit breaker trips were caused by the device working as intended. These trips prevented a serious problem that could have resulted in loss of life or property. Common mistakes that survey respondents encountered while checking on tripped overcurrent protection included inadequate circuit protection, overloaded circuits, wiring issues, and surge protection.

By installing AFCIs, you can help protect your home and your family from electrical fires. These devices detect arcing issues and shut off power to affected circuits. When states do not adopt the NEC in a timely fashion, they risk the lives of their residents by not implementing the latest lifesaving technology required by newer editions of the code. By installing AFCIs, you can keep yourself and your home safe from fires. For more information on arc faults and AFCIs, visit and