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December 16, 2017 / by Falcon Electric

AFCI's (Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters) and Your Home

Blog Post

Electricity is a powerful force that makes the modern world possible, but it's important to respect this force, and understand why it's so crucial to keep it in the sockets where it belongs. One of the many ways to do this is through an arc fault circuit interrupter, or AFCI.

Most people are familiar with the idea of arcing and electricity. Common examples of this would be a bolt of lightning hitting the ground or electricity from a downed powerline shooting out to the ground. Basically, it's a discharge between one point of conduction to another creating what looks like lightning bolts. An arc fault, is an unintended discharge of electrical current through the air or along an unplanned path. This is a dangerous situation, and never one you want to have present in your home. Arcing energy transfers extreme heat to any surface it touches. This can lead to fire or something melting at its destination, causing anything from minor damage to serious destruction at its end point. A simple example of this would be a power socket shorting out and starting a fire in the wall next to it or behind it. Remember, the temperatures on these arcs can exceed 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, so they are not to be trifled with.

These arcs also pose a serious danger to you and and anybody else walking near them. Whether it's an adult, pet, or child, electricity can cause serious and lasting harm to them. Burns, pain, and even death can occur after an arc shock, and it's crucial you do all you can to prevent them. Smoke alarm, fire extinguishers, and other methods of safety are standard in our homes, and AFCI’s are no different, and required by many states.

AFCI’s monitor your home’s circuits to make sure harmful arcs are caught and the circuit interrupted before any damage is done. In essence, the detection is accomplished by the use of advanced electronic technology which monitors the circuit for the presence of “normal” and “dangerous” arcing conditions. Some appliances in your home, such as vacuum cleaners or furnaces, naturally create arcs and these normal systems are not going to be caught by an AFCI. Another example of this would be a light turning on after you hit the switch. That said, it's important to make sure your home is up to code, and these safety devices are powerful tools for anyone wanting to ensure the safety of their property.

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Portland Electrician blog

Portland Electrician blog