Electrical Wiring in the Home/AFCI Protection


Hello, Bill. I'm interested in adding AFCI protection to the circuits in my home. One limiting factor is my GE subpanel, which has no room for the wider AFCI breakers (GE doesn't make slimline AFCIs). One solution would be to update the panel with a more spacious one. Of course, that's fairly expensive. Searching the Web today, I noticed that Leviton has introduced an AFCI outlet. Do you know anything about these? They appear to provide the same kind of protection. Seems that new outlets would be the best solution in my situation.


Hi Randy,

If you panel is already using the smaller size breaker I would advise you to update your panel it is too small. The next panel you install should have room 80% open space. The issue in panels that are too small is people start to look for little cheats or work arounds to avoid installing the correct size panel for their homes. Some of the work arounds I have seen are down right dangerous.

Using a AFCI outlet instead of a breaker falls short in it's level of protection. An AFCI breaker protects the entire circuit including the wires in the walls.  An AFCI outlet only protects what is plugged into the outlet. There is a line/load option on the outlet but I would not want to be the early an adopter of this type of protection.  
About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Bill Lutz


Any questions about being an electrician or doing electrical work. I can help advise people on their wiring needs, what kind of outlets and switcher to use, explain what an electrical service is and how their breakers work. I can also help them with their lighting needs. . I CAN HELP YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR LOOKING AT.


My Father apprenticed to his Father-and I apprenticed to mine, repeating an invaluable tradition of child labor and a great place to learn a trade. Beginning at the age of 13, I worked with my dad every weekend and summer vacation in homes throughout Philadelphia repairing and rewiring all levels of residential electrical systems. Studying electrical engineering and earning a degree in architecture has given me a solid advantage in solving the myriad of residential electrical problems. Generation 3 Electrical, Inc. takes pride in every job - building confidence by how we do things - by being prompt, thorough and leaving every job site finished and clean.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.