Similar to a security system and smoke/fire detection monitors, the detection and prevention of electrical failures is an integral part of any family’s safety planning needs. We’d like to share a bit with you today around arc fault protection, so that you’ll be in the know about how to safeguard your home or business from the potentially-disastrous consequences of arc faults brought about by substandard or old wiring.
What is an arc fault…isn’t that a tennis term?
Not quite. Arc faults are high-powered discharges of electricity between two or more conductor materials in the electrical wiring commonly found in residential homes. An arcing event, therefore, is the creation of an unintended current which flows through an unplanned pathway as a result of this breakdown, causing electrical current to arc (or jump) between the contact points. This can create an escalating amount of heat at the point of discharge, which may ignite the surrounding materials in your home or business. The amplitudes of arcing events can range from a just a few amps up through the thousands, and the recorded temperatures of arcing events have exceeded 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit when measured.
How does this happen?
Arcing events are typically caused by faulty or loose wires, sending an electrical current sparking between metal contact points. An arc fault can build up over time before eventually igniting, creating a major safety hazard. The current which jumps between conductor materials
Isn’t this the same as a short-circuit?
Yes! Short-circuits are those in which an active current loses its resistance and increases in volume, exceeding the capacity of the circuit breaker, which said breaker will then activate to stop. Arcing events, on the other hand, involve the movement of electricity between conduction points, which are often both unintended and unmonitored by traditional systems.
How can I protect myself?
An arc fault detection device, or AFDD, is able to break the connecting circuit when an electrical arc is detected, preventing the development of fires before they are able to begin. AFDD-based systems can distinguish between regular and harmless arcs and more-powerful, potentially dangerous ones. Typically, conventional circuit breakers are only able to distinguish overloads and short-circuits, leaving your dwelling unprotected against arcing conditions that are irregular or otherwise caused by a fault in the system, creating potentially disastrous consequences if left unmonitored. Installing an AFDD is a wise choice to protect against the possibility of arc faults that would otherwise go undetected.
Why is it important to have protection?
Installing an AFDD-enabled system will provide your home or business a much higher level of protection from arcing faults than a traditional our outdated circuit breaker. AFDDs have the ability to detect arcing events before they occur, removing the hazardous conditions before they become a major fire and hazard that could jeopardize the safety of you and your loved ones.
Currently, arc fault protection is not a requirement for new installations, but circuits that are either extended or updated during a remodel are now mandated to receive arc fault protection. It’s imperative that the electrician who works on or maintains your system is powered by the know-how to keep you and your family safe from faulty wiring and their possible consequences. Make sure to hire a qualified electrician to install your arc fault detection device and get it done right the first time! At WikiWiki Solar and Energy, our prompt and professional electricians are certified and at the ready to help with all your electrical needs. Aloha!