Did you know that many residential fires are started by an electrical hazard called arcing faults? Luckily, these fires can be prevented using AFCI technology. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) replace the standard breakers in your home’s electrical service panel to provide enhanced fire protection. Keep reading to learn how these advanced circuit breakers help prevent electrical fires in the home.

What Are Arcing Faults, and What Causes Them?

Arcing faults are electrical fire hazards often found in damaged or deteriorated wires and cords. When electrical wiring becomes damaged, stressed, worn, or overheated, electrical arcing can occur—which may lead to a fire starting in the home. Common causes for hazardous arcing conditions include:

  • Puncturing of wire insulation from cables that are improperly nailed or stapled too tightly
  • Puncturing of wire insulation from picture-hanging
  • Poorly installed outlets or switches
  • Furniture pushed up against outlet plugs
  • Cords caught under furniture or in doors
  • Cords exposed to heat sources—such as heating vents and sunlight
  • Natural aging of old cords and wires

How Do AFCIs Prevent Electrical Fires?

AFCIs detect the presence of arcing faults and prevent electrical fires from occurring by shutting off the electricity before a fire can start. If you live in a newly constructed home, AFCIs may already be installed in the bedrooms and main living areas. If you live in a slightly older home (built before 2005), you likely have standard circuit breakers. Standard breakers can easily be upgraded to AFCIs by a licensed electrician like Paramount Electric. To ensure maximum fire protection, they should be tested monthly using the “TEST” button on the AFCI.

For more fire safety tips, visit esfi.org for info on Holiday Fire Prevention. Plus, check out our previous post on Fire Prevention Week for a list of fire preventions tips that will keep your family protected all year round.

Have questions about how to prevent electrical fires with AFCIs? Ready to upgrade your breakers? Call our office at 314-266-6551 or email info@paramountstl.com. Have a safe and Happy New Year!