Major Cause of House Fires Explained by Local Owasso Electrician

For information about how to solve these problems in your home contact JL’s Electric at 918-272-5542.

Many house fires can be traced to one major issue.

More than 40,000 fires are attributed to faulty home electrical wiring. One of the major causes of fire are the arcing faults, causing high temperatures that can propel fire on different materials such as wood, paper and flooring material.

This type of problem occurs mostly in damaged or defective wires. Defective wires can be caused by picture hanging, poorly installed outlets, or puncturing of wire insulation.

Solving The Problem AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter):

The AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter) is a recent electrical device designed to protect against fires caused by arcing faults in the home electrical wiring.

Breakers installed throughout the years only protect from overloads and short circuits; leaving system unprotected by arcing conditions that produce erratic current flow. An AFCI actuates only to selective incidents, so that normal arcs do not cause it to trip. An arc fault circuit interrupter uses unique current sensing circuitry to recognize between normal and unwanted arcing conditions. If an adverse arcing condition is detected, the control circuitry in the arc fault circuit interrupter trips and shuts off the electric current reducing the potential of a fire to occur.

The AFCI should not fail during normal arcing conditions, which can occur when a switch is opened or a plug is pulled from a receptacle. They are designed into conventional circuit breakers combining traditional overload and short-circuit protection with arc fault protection. AFCI circuit breakers have a similar look to a ground fault circuit interrupter, with a test button. Some designs combine GFCI and AFCI protection.

Arc fault circuit interrupter will not eliminate the possibility of arcing faults, but they will reduce the risk of occurrence. Sometimes the initial arc may cause ignition prior to detection and circuit interruption by the AFCI.

The AFCI will also protect the system from overloads and will also provide limited protection for power cords and extension cords.

Should you have AFCI’s Installed?

AFCI’s are required on circuits containing the outlets in bedrooms and limited to new construction only. However, it is a good practice to install them in existing residential units also. Older homes with aging and deteriorating wiring systems can especially benefit from the added protection of AFCIs. AFCIs should also be considered whenever adding or upgrading a panel box while using existing branch circuit conductors.

AFCI breakers should be tested once a month to make sure they are working properly. Just push the reset button and the breaker should trip, then just turn the breaker fully off then back to the on position.

Please call JL’s Electric at 918-272-5542 if you have a question or would like to have AFCI’s installed.

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