Bill’s POV: The Value of AFCIs
Bill’s Quality Electric, LLC shares electrical safety tips and information on the Value of Arc Fault Circuit Interruptors for prevention of fire and images of a standard aged outlet preparing to begin a fire!
Bill has a word of warning and caution concerning this standard electrical outlet and how you can help prevent fires in your home with AFCIs:
“The standard outlet in the images above shows a perfect example of insulation and conductor deterioration due to an overload on the conductors as well as age. This is either from use at a particular receptacle itself, or in this case, where you see all four conductors, 2 of them feeding into the device, two of them feeding out of the device to other devices, due to a heavier load from other devices down line, which is more than this device was designed to carry.
Note that these conductors are plugged into the back of the device rather than secured around the screws, which would give you a much larger point of contact and a much safer installation when using the device as a feed through.
Most homes are wired in this inferior manner as shown in the images above, with wires plugged into the device rather than wrapped around the screws. If there were Arc Fault Circuit Interruptor Circuit breakers installed on this circuit, the breaker would have tripped, disconnecting power to the circuit and thus, preventing a fire, which, had this condition gone on much longer, would have resulted in a fire.
This fire would have started with the melting and incineration of the plastic receptacle, the plastic box, the plastic insulation on the wires, the paper of the fiberglass insulation, the paper on the drywall and with the wood itself.
Once the outlet starts burning, then the fire spreads very quickly.
Note that the neutral wires (the whites with negative polarity) are where the majority of the melted insulation is. Standard Circuit Breakers only protect the black wires carrying the positive polarity.
AFCIs protect and MONITOR the positive and negative polarity, both black and white conductors, insuring a much safer installation with total overload protection when sized and installed properly.
AFCI breakers are the single greatest electrical safety device since the GFCI came out many years ago. Today, under the 2014 National Electrical Code, almost every circuit in the house is required to be protected by an AFCI breaker.”
Stay Electrically Safe and Smart with AFCIs to help prevent fires in your home!
Copyright 2016 Images and text Bill’s Quality Electric, LLC