After reading many articles and comments concerning AFCI and GFCI breakers I set out to my local Lowes. In the old days buying a fuse or a circuit breaker was pretty straight forward. Not anymore! Based on the updated building code for new homes I am required to use AFCI circuit breakers so I bought one. Well, I attempted to buy one. As you can see from the picture its a "Combination AFCI circuit breaker."

I tried to find out the difference and I really could not find a straight answer, which led me back to here. If anyone can answer it's the experts here!

Will this work or do I need to return it and buy a standard AFCI breaker?

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From Wikipedia: (emphasis added)

The AFCI is intended to prevent fire from arcs. AFCI circuit breakers are designed to meet one of two standards as specified by UL 1699: "branch" type or "combination" type (note: the Canadian Electrical Code uses different terminology but similar technical requirements). A branch type AFCI trips on 75 amperes of arcing current from the line wire to either the neutral or ground wire. A combination type adds series arcing detection to branch type performance. Combination type AFCIs trip on 5 amperes of series arcing.


A combination AFCI breaker provides protection against parallel arcing (line to neutral), series arcing (a loose, broken, or otherwise high resistance segment in a single line), ground arcing (from line, or neutral, to ground), overload protection and short circuit protection.

So it appears that "combination AFCI" is a short way of saying "protect against more potential problems than the original AFCI devices protected."

  • 1
    So based on what I just read from @manassehkatz it sounds like the Combination AFCI is an upgrade to the AFCI breaker. Thank you, wont stress that I bought the wrong one! – Christopher Lond Dec 27 '18 at 22:58

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