Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) protect a home against electrical fires. ACFIs protect against fire-causing arcing much like GFCI’s protect against stray current. When an arc is detected, power to the circuit is interrupted. Arcing can be caused by any number of factors, including damaged or worn wires, incorrect wiring, and loose or wet connections. Newer AFCIs are able to distinguish between dangerous arc faults and normal arcing caused by fluorescent lighting and some dimmers and switches.
If you look, you will also find a series of letters on a wire. These labels are also standard and will tell you more information about the makeup of the wire. For instance, the code may tell you whether it's aluminum or copper or whether or not it is heat resistant. As you learn more about wiring, you'll realize just how often you need to know these things.
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