Did you know that problems with electrical wiring, such as arcing and sparking, result in over 51,000 residential fires, over 500 lives lost and cause 1,400 injuries a year and finally $1.3 billion per year?
In addition, an electrical safety device known as an arc fault circuit interrupter or AFCI, will provide substantial protection from fires resulting from unsafe wiring conditions.
Typical household fuses and circuit breakers do not respond to early arcing and sparking conditions in home wiring. By the time a fuse or circuit breaker opens a circuit to defuse these conditions a fire may already have begun. Several years ago, studies conducted identified arc fault detection as a promising new technology. Since then, electrical engineers have tested the new AFCI’s on the market and found these products to be effective.
So, what exactly is an AFCI and what is the difference between an AFCI and a GFCI? Are AFCI’s required in today’s homes? Can you install an AFCI yourself? Are there different types of AFCI’s? You will find answers to all of these AFCI questions and more in the following.
What is the difference between an AFCI and a GFCI?
AFCI’s serve their purpose and must not be confused with a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI. GFCI devices are designed to provide protection from electric shock. Both AFCI’s and GFCI’s are important safety devices but they have different functions. AFCI’s are designed to identify fire hazards and GFCI’s detect and prevent shock hazards.
Are AFCI’s required?
AFCI’s are proven devices for their effectiveness in preventing fires. Effective January 2002, the National Electrical Code or (NEC) made it necessary for home builders to include AFCI’s into the construction of all new homes.
Should you install AFCI’s?
Homeowners may wish to add AFCI protection for both new and existing homes. Homes built prior to 2002 with ordinary circuit breakers will benefit from the added protection against the arcing faults that can occur in aging wiring systems. If you are considering upgrading your AFCI’s be sure to contact Barney’s Electric. We are expertly trained, licensed professionals who will be happy to perform your AFCI upgrade safely. We can be contacted at 972-771-9464.
There are a variety of AFCI’s. Below you will find a summary of each.
Types of Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters:
Branch/Feeder AFCI – This device is installed at the origin of a branch circuit or feeder, such as at a panel board, to provide protection of the branch circuit wiring, feeder wiring, or both, against unwanted effects of arcing. The Feeder AFCI also provides limited protection to branch-circuit extension wiring and may also be a circuit-breaker type device or a device in its own enclosure mounted at or near a panel board.
Outlet Circuit AFCI – An Outlet Circuit AFCI is a device that is installed at a branch circuit outlet, such as at an outlet box, to provide protection of cord sets and power-supply cords connected to it. The Outlet Circuit AFCI may also provide feed-through protection of the cord sets and power-supply cords connected to downstream receptacles.
Combination AFCI – A Combination AFCI is an AFCI which complies with the requirements for both branch/feeder and outlet circuit AFCI’s. It is intended to protect downstream branch-circuit wiring, cord sets and power-supply cords.
Portable AFCI – A Portable AFCI is a plug-in device that is intended to be connected to a receptacle outlet and provide one or more outlets. A Portable AFCI is also intended to provide protection to connected cord sets and power-supply cords against the unwanted effects of arcing.
Cord AFCI – A Cord AFCI is also a plug-in device that is connected to a receptacle outlet, to provide protection to the power-supply cord connected to it against the unwanted effects of arcing. The cord may also be part of the device and has no additional outlets.
At Barney’s Electric you can have the peace of mind that all of the electrical materials we install will be the finest that are available. You can also have confidence that we will always keep a clean working environment and leave your home as if we were never there. If you have any questions or we can assist you in any way, please feel free to contact Barney’s Electric at 972-771-9464. For your convenience, you may also request services from this site.
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