The National Fire Protection Association reports that every year around 50,000 fires in the U.S. are caused by some kind of electrical failure or malfunction. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 50% of electrical fires could be prevented by using Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs).
What is an Arc-Fault?
When an electrical device or wiring becomes damaged, overheated or over-stressed it increases the liklihood of an electrical arc. For example, a wire behind a wall may become damaged when a nail is driven through the drywall, or an electrical cord may become worn out from repeated use, causing the insulation to crack and the wires inside to make contact.
What Kind of AFCIs are Available For Your Home?
There are are typically three kinds of AFCIs that you’ll find in homes:
1. Branch/Feeded AFCI Breaker. These are the original AFCI breakers that were required starting in 1999 to meet the National Electrical Code (NEC). They provide improved fire protection by tripping when a parallel arc is detected between hot and neutral conductors.
2. Combination AFCI’s. Branch/Feeder AFCI breakers were phased out starting in 2008 and replaced with Combination Type AFCIs. They work similarly, but offer enhanced fire protection by detecting lower level series arching in both branch circuits and power cords.
3. AFCI Receptacle. These are the outlets that you’ll find installed in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and other areas of the home where water is more likely to come into contact with electrical devices. They have a reset and a test button. AFCI receptacles provide protection for downstream wire and appliances. In addition to preventing electrical fires, they are an important safety device for preventing accidental electrocution.
If your home was build before 1999, or is lacking combination AFCI circuits and/or receptacles, call Clover Electric. We can help bring your home up to code and protect your family from the risk of fire and electrocution by upgrading your electrical system.
If you have AFCI breakers and/or receptacles in your home it’s important that they be tested monthly. If the test button fails to trip, or cannot be reset, call Clover Electric to have the them tested and replaced if necessary.
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