As Seen on TV

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters
Illustration of electrical pathways
Illustration: Ian Worpole

A conventional circuit breaker can't detect the low-level arcing (a spark-generating short circuit) that can occur on frayed or cut wires. Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), installed at the service panel, protect against such dangerous shorts and are now required in new bedroom circuits. Gallant first used them at the TV project in Billerica, Mass.

Low-voltage Lights

Arc-fault circuit interrupters prevent spark-generating short circuits

What a difference a transformer makes. By taking 110-volt household power and stepping it down to 12 volts, it allows most any homeowner to safely install low-voltage lighting fixtures under cabinets, on ceilings, or around gardens and outdoor walkways. Low voltage doesn't mean dim. The tiny xenon bulbs in the accent lights in the kitchen of the Charlestown, Mass., TV project produce an incredibly bright light, and they boast a 10,000-hour life span.

Airtight Recessed Lights

Low-voltage lights

Standard recessed lights are stylish space savers, but they leave a hole in your ceiling where air (and heat) can escape. That's why manufacturers have perfected so-called airtight recessed lights, which block air leaks and even allow insulation to be placed on top of the fixture—a big no-no with old-style can lights. Used throughout the Milton TV project, they're now required by code in many applications.

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