Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters – Residential Electricians
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates approximately 40,000 home fires are caused each year by faulty electrical wiring. Many of the deaths and much of the property damage resulting from these devastating house fires could have been prevented had arc fault protective devices been utilized.An arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is a protective device which comes in the form of a circuit breaker or receptacle outlet. An AFCI’s job is to continuously monitor a circuit for unsafe electrical abnormalities which can become the source of ignition for a house fire.An arc is a hot spark that occurs when an electrical circuit is having difficulty making an electrical connection. When an arc is detected, the AFCI immediately discontinues the flow of electricity through the circuit.
What Causes an Arc?
Here are some common scenarios that cause an electrical arc:
- Loose connections on a poorly wired outlet or switch
- Damaged appliances or equipment
- Cracked, frayed or damaged insulation on electrical cords
- Electrical wire insulation pinched inside a fan or light fixture
- Damaged insulation caused by rodents
- Damaged insulation from sheetrock screws or nails
- Moisture on electrical connections
- Old wiring with questionable insulation
Older Homes and AFCI Protection
Older Minneapolis and Saint Paul homes that have knob and tube wiring and other older wiring methods can benefit from the supervision that an AFCI can provide for a circuit. An AFCI can provide an intermediate solution to home owners who wish to enhance the safety of their electrical system while contemplating a re-wire of older circuits.
Panel Replacements for AFCI Circuit Breakers
Many outdated circuit breaker panels and fuse panels are not capable of having AFCI protection installed in the form of a circuit breaker. In these cases a panel replacement, upgrade or sub-panel may be recommended. At Edison Electric we safely replace hundreds of electrical panels each year and we will always make practical recommendations which meet your needs and your budget.