Habitation Investigation

All About Afci Protection

As technology ever improves, new tools and devices to improve our lives and keep us safe are constantly evolving. One of those devices are AFCI protection! Put simply, they are outlets and/or circuit breakers that hold specialized and micro-miniaturized electrical circuits that can catch the tell-tale signs of electrical current problems. Once the problem is detected, they automatically shut down the electricity, keeping your home and your family safe! The difference between AFCI protection and a regular circuit breaker is an important one; regular circuit breakers are designed to protect a building’s electrical system, not people. The amount of electricity required to kill a person is thousands of times less than the amount of electricity it takes to trip a regular circuit breaker, which is why AFCI protection is a crucial part of your home.


Fuses and circuit breakers-also called over current devices-are used in your home’s electrical system to protect against too much electrical current running through the wiring. Some power is lost as the electrical current flows through the wires, because the wires contain some electrical resistance. This is perfectly fine, but if too much current flows through at once, the wire can get too hot and spark a fire. To prevent against this, fuses or circuit breakers can detect when too much electricity is flowing; a fuse will blow, and a circuit breaker will trip. When this does happen, it most often means that someone has attempted to plug too many devices into one circuit. However, as we talked about earlier, fuses and circuit breakers are not designed to protect people from electrocution; they are designed to protect the wiring from fire. This is why AFCI protection is important. 


AFCI protection is similar to GFCI outlets, but they protect against another potential danger. Sometimes certain electric appliances will be used to convert electricity into heat, and sometimes these devices also create heating in the area that the device plugs into the wall. This is called arcing. You can sometimes find it when you unplug a heating appliance quickly, such as a clothes iron. Electrical arcs can also be caused when a nail is driven through a wire in a wall-like when someone is hanging a picture frame-or by rodents chewing through electrical wiring.

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