Whenever we flip a switch, plug in an appliance, or adjust a reading light, we interact with the electrical system in a house. A good electrician can make those interactions easier in a hundred little ways, so it's best to communicate your needs early—ideally after the house is framed and before the drywall or insulation goes up. That's when master electrician Allen Gallant, who has wired many This Old House TV projects, takes his customers on a job-site walk-through, showing where he plans to put switches, lights, and receptacles. "I'll even ask them if they're left-handed or right-handed," he says. "It makes a big difference when you're looking for the light switch." It's easy to make changes at this point in the process, but once the walls are closed in, any second thoughts become far more difficult and expensive to implement.
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.
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