Arc faults are extremely dangerous electrical issues in homes throughout the U.S. In fact, over 50 percent of the almost 51,000 electrical fires that occur each year are the result of arc faults.
An arc fault occurs when electrical devices, electrical wiring, and appliances suffer some type of damage, stress, or overheating. In most cases, arc faults are the result of cracked or frayed electrical wires, wires that are punctured by a screw or nail, or overloaded outlets or circuits.
The good news is, there are some steps you can take to help protect your home from arc fault issues. Keep reading to learn what those steps are.
AFCI – The Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter
An AFCI’s job is to stop sort-circuited, overheated, or overloaded breakers from causing an electrical fire. These are found in a home’s electrical panel. The AFCIs work like a traditional circuit breaker but feature an increased level of protection and will trip and then cut off electricity if any type of dangerous arcing situation is sensed.
Effective Ways to Prevent Arc Faults
The NEC has established electrical standards for the U.S., and the use of AFCIs have been required for use in bedrooms since 2002. Then, in 2008, the AFCI standards started to include the electrical wiring in other areas of the home, as well, including the halls, closets, living room, family room, and dining room.
Using AFCIs would help to prevent more than 50 percent of all electric fires that occur in American homes. Even though the presence of these is required, you should never assume they are present. This is especially true if you have an older home. It is best to call the professionals so they can come inspect your electrical system and ensure everything is up to code and working safely.
GFCIs vs. AFCIs
GFCIs – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters – were originally introduced in the 1960s and started to be installed in homes to help provide protection against deadly shocks resulting from ground faults when using an appliance or tool. A ground fault may occur when there’s an unintentional electrical path between a power source and a grounded surface.
The person who gets in this path may suffer a fatal shock and electrocution. The GFCI then cuts the power to the circuit if the electricity moving into the circuit is slightly different from what’s returning, which indicates a current leak.
In contrast to this, as discussed above, the AFCI is responsible for detecting a dangerous arc fault and shuts off all electricity, which prevents the possibility of an electrical fire.
Call for an Inspection Today
If you are unsure whether or not AFCIs are installed in your home, it is a good idea to reach out to the pros in your local area. They can provide an inspection and help ensure your home is protected from electrical related fires, and other issues that may arise with faulty wiring or a faulty electrical system.