Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters Protection (AFCI)
AFCI breakers were adopted by the National Electrical Code in 1999 in an effort to prevent fires. In 2008, the National Electrical Code required AFCI protection on all branch circuits in dining rooms, family rooms, living rooms bedrooms, and other similar spaces. In 2014 kitchens were added to the list. This circuit breaker trips when it senses low or high current arcs that can be caused by damaged wiring or loose connections which can cause fires.
What Causes An Arc Fault?
An arc fault can be caused by damaged cords, loose connections, or even rodents chewing on electrical wires. When an arc fault occurs, electricity jumps through the air, creating heat and sparking. This can ignite nearby materials and start a fire.
How Does An AFCI Outlet Work?
AFCI outlets work by constantly monitoring the current flowing through the circuit. If it detects an arc fault, it will trip the breaker and interrupt the flow of electricity, preventing a fire from starting.
Are AFCIs Really Necessary?
While AFCIs are not currently required by code in all areas of the home, they are an important safety feature that is becoming more common. Electrical fires are a leading cause of home fires and having AFCIs is another layer of protection. Many insurance companies offer discounts for homes that have AFCI protection, so it is definitely worth considering for your home.
What Type of AFCIs are There?
There are two types of AFCIs, branch circuit/feeder AFCIs and circuit breaker AFCIs. Branch/feeder AFCIs are installed at the first outlet on a circuit and provide protection for the entire branch circuit. Circuit breaker AFCIs are installed in the electrical panel and provide protection for every electrical circuit that is fed by that breaker.
At ARC Electric we highly recommend that if your home was built before the year 2000 check and see if an arc fault circuit interrupter has been installed in your panel. They can be identified by markings on the front and a trip test button also located on the front of the breaker. If your home does not have AFCI breakers you should consider having them installed by a licensed electrician to protect your home and family from potential fires.
GFCI and AFCI outlets are two important safety features that can help protect your home from electrical fires. GFCI outlets trip when they sense a short to ground, while AFCI outlets trip when they detect an arc fault. Both types of outlets are becoming more common and many insurance companies offer discounts for homes that have them.
When it comes to the safety of your home, you can never be too careful. Having GFCI and AFCI outlets installed is a great way to help protect your home from electrical fires. ARC Electric is proud to offer both GFCI and AFCI installation as part of our complete line of electrical services. Our certified electricians can install these outlets in your home to help keep your family safe. Give us a call today to learn more.