States Implement New Code Requiring Protection Against Arcing Electrical Faults To Help Reduce Likelihood of Home Electrical Fires

AFCI Receptacle Meets Newly Adopted National Electrical Code Mandates

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An important new requirement of the National Electrical Code® (NEC) will help prevent the likelihood of home electrical fires due to arc-faults. The NEC now mandates in 32 states that AFCI protection be installed when replacing home electrical outlets. Long required for new construction, the benefits of AFCI protection provide an important means in helping to prevent electrical fires, particularly in older homes which have a higher percentage of these fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), arc-faults are a major cause of electrical failure resulting in fire.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International says that home electrical fires account for more than 50,000 fires each year and $1.3 billion in property damage. These fires are also blamed for nearly 500 deaths and more than 1,400 injuries each year.

An arc-fault is the flow of electricity over an unintended path. Arcs can exceed temperatures of 7,000° F and can arise from damaged wires, loose electrical connections or worn electrical insulation. They can begin behind a home’s walls, which makes them difficult to detect without AFCI protection.

One manufacturer, Leviton, has introduced the first AFCI receptacle. Safe and easy-to-install, the Leviton SmartlockPro® Outlet Branch Circuit (OBC) AFCI Receptacle was recognized as one of This Old House magazine’s annual “Best New Home Products.” The Leviton AFCI Receptacle is designed to detect a wide range of dangerous electrical arcing faults to help reduce the likelihood of the electrical system being an ignition source of a fire. They function by de-energizing the circuit downstream of the device upon which an arc-fault is detected to help prevent ignition and a resultant fire.

“Arc-fault protection is extremely important since arc-faults are often unseen and can occur anywhere in the home’s electrical system, including within walls and at loose electrical connections,” said Bill Grande, Leviton’s Director of Safety Products.

The new NEC codes require AFCI protection in many areas throughout the home, including kitchens, laundry rooms, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sun- rooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways and similar rooms or areas. They are also required in dormitories.

The SmartlockPro AFCI Receptacles, which retail for around $30.00 USD, may be used on any wiring system as specified by the NEC and are easy to install in both new construction and retrofit applications. By replacing just one standard receptacle on each branch circuit, homeowners can easily and affordably help prevent electrical fires in their homes. For the typical do-it-yourselfer, it is similar to installing a traditional outlet.

The SmartlockPro AFCI Receptacle is Tamper-Resistant in compliance with the latest NEC requirements. The receptacle’s shutter mechanism is designed to block access to the contacts from most foreign objects for improved safety.

The device meets Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard 1699A (Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupters, Outlet Branch Circuit Type), the definitive standard for AFCIs, and comes with a two-year limited product warranty. Available in white, ivory, light almond, gray, black and brown, the Leviton SmartlockPro AFCI Receptacle is compatible with Leviton’s complete line of Decora® wiring devices and wallplates.

The AFCI Receptacle is available through Leviton’s network of retail and electrical distribution channels, including their online store For additional information on the Leviton SmartlockPro OBC AFCI Receptacle and Code requirements in each individual state, visit and view the interactive presentation.

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Jay Sherman

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About Leviton Residential

Leviton residential products are the brand most preferred by builders and electrical contractors. Leviton’s award winning lighting controls, wiring devices and home automation products help electrical industry professionals and homeowners create smart living environments that deliver energy savings, convenience, reliability and safety. Learn more at

About Leviton

Leviton is the smart choice, providing the most comprehensive range of solutions to meet the needs of today’s residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Leveraging more than a century of experience, Leviton helps customers create sustainable, intelligent environments through its electrical wiring devices, network and data center connectivity solutions, and lighting energy management systems. From switches and receptacles, to daylight harvesting controls, networking systems, and equipment for charging electric vehicles, Leviton solutions help customers achieve savings in energy, time and cost, all while enhancing safety. For more information, visit,, or

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