Arc faults are one of the leading causes for residential electrical fires.
Each year in the United States, over 40,000 fires are attributed to home electrical wiring. These fires result in over 350 deaths and over 1,400 injuries each year.
Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and escape ladders are all examples of emergency equipment used in homes to take action when a fire occurs. An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is a product that is designed to detect a wide range of arcing electrical faults to help reduce the electrical system from being an ignition source of a fire.
Arcing can create high intensity heat, which may over time ignite surrounding material such as wood framing or insulation.
The temperatures of these arcs can exceed 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Arcing may be caused by damaged wires behind a wall or damaged cords that are plugged into an outlet.
This commonly occurs when furniture is pressed up against a plug in an electrical outlet or nails and screws are driven into a wall.
Conventional circuit breakers only respond to overloads and short circuits, so they do not protect against arcing conditions that produce erratic, and often reduced current.
The AFCI continuously monitors the current and is able to selectively distinguish between a harmless arc (incidental to normal operation of switches, plugs and brushed motors), and a potentially dangerous arc —that can occur in a lamp cord which has a broken conductor. This circuit breaker breaks or interrupts the circuit when it detects an electric arc in the circuit.
As of the 2014, NEC, AFCI protection is required on all branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in nearly every room of a home.
Older homes that have not been rewired or homes that only have the circuit breaking electrical outlets and not in the distribution board —breaker box—itself should consider consulting an electrician. What’s in your breaker box?
Some homeowners assume that just because they have the electrical outlets with the little red light that can be reset that they have all bases covered, this may be a disguise. Local electrician Brian Jones of Triple J Electric said, “The AFCI at the fuse box and the electric outlet in the home are two different things, it takes a combination to cover all areas that need protecting.” Jones is a state licensed electrician 256-996-8157.
Original Date: April 4 2018