Arc Fault Breakers

What is an Arc-Fault?

circuit_breakerAn arc-fault is the result of sporadic contact between loose or corroded connections, which creates sparking, or arcing, between them. This converts to heat, breaking down the insulation of the wire, potentially becoming the trigger for an electrical fire.

Arc-Fault breakers are circuit breakers designed to prevent fires by detecting arc faults and disengaging the power. Arc fault breakers check the current and are programmed to differentiate between intended and unintended arcing conditions. The flow of electricity will be interrupted and the arc will be killed.

What Causes Arcing?

Arcing can be caused by:

  • A light switch or other electrical appliance when it is turned on.
  • Loose or corroded connections, from which the resulting intermittent contact can lead to extreme heating.
  • Wiring that has either been fastened or stapled too tightly in older homes.

Arc-Fault Breakers, Fuses, and Circuit Breakers

Fuses and circuit breakers can detect an unusually high current load and shut off the electric current once current exceeds a certain level. However, fuses and circuit breakers cannot detect low-level arcs. Arc-fault breakers are designed specifically for that purpose to add an extra level of safety, incorporating an additional sensor that detects the arcing.

Do you have questions about arc-fault breakers in your home? Are you looking to have them installed? Are you trying to find out if your older electrical system even has them? Contact us at Hufnagel Electric today. We can schedule an appointment for our licensed electricians to evaluate your electrical system.