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CIRCUIT BREAKER

Units: About 700,000.

Manufacturer: Schneider Electric North American Division, of Palatine, Ill.

Hazard: An AFCI is an electrical circuit protection device (circuit breaker) that detects electrical arcs from cracked, broken or damaged electrical insulation and shuts off power to the circuit before the arcing leads to a fire. An electronic component failure inside the AFCIs can cause the devices to not detect an electrical arc. Although the AFCIs will function as regular circuit breakers, they may not detect an arc fault, posing a safety risk to consumers.

Incidents/injuries: Schneider Electric is investigating one reported fire during a new home construction that may be related to this problem. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The recalled Square D QO and Homeline Arc Fault Interrupter circuit breakers are used with 15- and 20-amp branch circuits. They are required to be installed in bedroom circuits in accordance with the 2002 National Electrical Code. The recalled units were manufactured after March 1, 2004, and have a blue test button. The AFCI circuit breakers have one of the following date codes CN, DN, EN, FN, GN, HN, or JN stamped in red on the breaker label located just above the wiring terminal.

Sold at: Electrical distributors and retailers sold the AFCIs between March 2004 and September 2004 for between $30 and $130.

Manufactured in: Mexico.

Remedy: Installed AFCIs will be replaced free of charge through electrical contractors. Consumers can return uninstalled AFCIs to the retailers from whom the unit was purchased for a free replacement unit.

Consumer contact: (877) 202-9046 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays or log on to www.us.squared.com/recall/AFCI.

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