Arc faults are a dangerous electrical problem in American homes. Greater than 50% of the nearly 51,000 electrical fires are attributable to arc faults in the USA. Arc faults are caused when appliances, electrical devices, and electrical wiring undergo damage, overheating, or stress. Typically, arc faults are caused by frayed or cracked electrical wires, overloaded circuits or outlets, or wires punctured by a nail or screw.
AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter)
AFCIs interrupt arc faults, stopping overloaded, overheated, or short-circuited breakers from causing an electrical fire. Found in a home’s electrical panel, AFCIs work like a standard circuit breaker with an increased protection capability and will trip and cut electricity after sensing a dangerous arcing condition.
Preventive Methods Most Effective
The NEC (National Electrical Code) establishes electrical standards for the USA, and AFCIs have been required for bedrooms since 2002. In 2008, AFCI standards began including the electrical wiring of other home areas, such as the family room, dining room, family room, living room, closets, and halls.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the installation of AFCIs would prevent greater than half of the electrical fires in American homes. Although the NEC requires AFCIs, you should not assume they are installed in your home, especially if it is older. Call a licensed electrician for a safety inspection that will include taking a look inside your electrical panel. The ideal protection against fire is prevention.
AFCIs vs. GFCIs
In the 1960s, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) were increasingly installed in homes to provide protection from deadly shocks caused by ground faults when using tools or appliances. A ground fault occurs when an unintentional electrical path occurs between a source of power and a grounded surface. A person in this path can suffer fatal electrocution. A GFCI cuts power to the circuit when electricity flowing into the circuit differs even slightly from that returning, indicating current leakage. In contrast, as described above, an AFCI detects dangerous arc faults and shuts off electricity, preventing electrical fires.
Electrical Services You Can Trust
Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.