Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter AFCI
Arc fault protection, or arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) has been around for some time now. But unless your home was built or remodeled after 2005, you might not be familiar with it.
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter Breakers
Arc-fault Circuit Interrupter Breakers (AFCI), according to the National Electric Code (NEC), must now be included in all new constructions. These new breakers are separate from the ground fault interrupter (GFI) breakers already installed in your home. The GFI breakers protect you from electrical shocks while AFCI breakers are designed to protect your home from fire hazards.
How do AFCI Breakers Work?
The GFI breakers in your home protect you from the electrical current created when hot wires touch ground wires. They do so by tripping the circuit breaker and shutting off your power.
The problem is that the hot wire may not make consistent contact with the ground or neutral wires. This can happen if your insulation is going bad or if your wires have become loose or corroded. When this occurs, the intermittent contact causes an arc of heat to continuously build, creating a possible fire hazard. The new breakers can detect the arc and trip the breaker to prevent a fire from starting.
In new or remodeled wiring, many locations will require both GFCI and AFCI protection. This can be accomplished by installing AFCI circuit breakers then using GFCI receptacles at specific locations; or, there are combination AFCI/GFCI circuit breakers that can offer both types of protection to the entire circuit.
It is critical that Code requirements for both AFCI and GFCI protection are followed whenever extending or updating a wiring system.
AFCI protection is required by the 2017 National Electrical Code® (NEC) for 15 and 20 amp circuits that serve outlets and devices in all areas of new residential construction, excluding bathrooms, garages, and outside areas.
In addition to new construction, when receptacles are replaced in areas where AFCI protection is now required, the replacement receptacle must have AFCI protection.
As a Licensed Roselle Electrical Contractor, we abide by the National Electrical Code. More importantly, we install our work with your safety in mind and believe AFCI protection is an important part of that.