There are many ways that electrical fires can start in the home, any many ways they can be prevented. With all the tools on the market it can be hard to know what you should be using to protect your home. One important tool that you can use to prevent electrical fires is an arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI). An AFCI could prevent electrical shorts and damage on circuits around your home.
What is an Arc Fault?
Arc faults occur when electricity leaves the circuit and the current travels to a different pathway. This can occur if a wire is cracked, cut, or broken. When the wire becomes exposed the electricity can travel out and into the surrounding objects. When the electricity makes contact it will heat up significantly which can cause a fire. If this arcing occurs in your home, chances are the surrounding materials are wood or insulation. Once an arc fire starts, it can do significant amount of damage before you are made aware by the sound of your detector.
What is an AFCI?
An arc-fault circuit interrupter (ACFI) can be installed on receptacles and circuit breakers to shut off the flow of electricity when it detects an arc about to occur. Because arcs are a sudden surge of power, standard circuit breakers may not shut off before the arc occurs as they are designed to prevent short circuits and overloads. Sudden surges of power in the electrical system can occur when devices and appliances, like a vacuum cleaner or light switch, are turned on. These are normal occurrences, which will be detected by the ACFI and allowed. But the ACFI also monitors the circuit for dangerous arcing and is ready to shut off the flow of electricity immediately when it occurs.
Don’t Be Left Vulnerable
While many homes in Canada may have ACFIs installed, it has not always been a requirement. For homes that have been built before new electrical code requirements in 2002, there are likely no ACFIs installed in the home. This makes you vulnerable to arcs that are more likely to occur in older homes due to aging wiring. Currently, it is standard to have ACFIs installed on all bedrooms.
Our Expert Elections are experienced in installing AFCIs. Our electricians can detect if there are AFCIs currently installed in your home, and which points of your electrical system are critical and should have an AFCI installed. If you are unsure about your homes protection, call your local Expert Electric at 604-681-8338.