By Gene and Katie Hamilton
An AFCI (arc-fault circuit interrupter) can protect you and your family from unseen dangers in your home's wiring. It is a new safety device designed to protect against residential fires caused by a leak in the current outside a wire's insulation. The device takes over where conventional circuit breakers, which can't detect damaged wires or faulty electrical insulation, leave off. An AFCI detects an arc fault in home wiring and turns the power to the electrical circuit off, reducing the risk of fire. It also protects an entire circuit against arc faults from the wires inside the walls to the cords of all the electronic devices plugged into the outlet.
Beginning in 2002, the National Electric Code requires AFCI protection on all 15-amp and 20-amp bedroom outlets in new home construction. You can have this protection in an existing house by replacing the breakers on your bedrooms with AFCI breakers.
DIY Hassle Alert
It should come as no surprise that installing new breakers in a circuit panel is definitely a job for a qualified electrician. To add three breakers an electrician charges $213, which includes labor and material, and is well worth the added protection against an electrical fire that could destroy your house and family.
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Here's more information from the National Fire Protection Assn. about
Now you know the average cost to install a circuit interrupter, which includes the labor and material, and what’s involved, so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Don’t forget to adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Cost updated 2020