Combination arc-fault circuit breakers are not the same as dual function circuit breakers. While they may “sound” the same, the combination arc-fault circuit breaker does not provide the same protection as a dual function arc-fault/GFCI circuit breaker does.
Combination arc-fault or AFCI circuit breakers provide protection against both parallel arcing conditions which are hot to ground arcing conditions along with series arcing which are arcing that occurs along a single conductor with a portion of that conduction being broken, frayed or partially disassembled. This causes the current to leap an air gap to continue on to its designated path.
The dual-function GFCI/AFCI circuit breaker (ground fault circuit interrupter and arc-fault circuit interrupter) combine both AFCI and GFCI protection into one.
The GFCI and the AFCI are designed to meet specific electrical safety issues. The GFCI is designed to protect against electrocution while operating equipment on a GFCI protected circuit. The AFCI is resettable and designed to interrupt and de-energize a circuit to protect should irregularities that mimic arcing faults occur in an AFCI protected circuit.
New codes require that all circuit breakers be AFCI or GFCI protected. If you feel that your circuit breakers may not be up to code, please do not hesitate to contact us for an inspection. We are happy to help!