Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs), a monitoring system that helps prevent dangerous energy arcs, which can cause serious electrical hazards, have joined the list of safety features that help make up the 2006 International Residential Code. Arcs can be caused by damaged electrical cords, such as those found on vacuum cleaners or other appliances; loose connections on outlets or light switches; or damage to inside wiring from screws or nails.
Residents of older homes may not be required to install AFCIs, as their dwellings may be considered “grandfathered in.” However, it is a good idea to go ahead and install this safety device for greater protection of home and family. Residential building codes require that AFCIs be installed in all bedroom outlets, and the National Electrical Code provides guidelines on how to perform a proper installation.
About: Priority One Electric is a licensed electrical contractor serving residents in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. Priority One Electric specializes in repairing and replacing old circuit-breaker panels and updating aging electrical systems to ensure that dwellings are safe and up to code.
Dan Horan, a veteran electrician with Priority One Electric, provides some insight into the function and dangers of the circuit breakers in your home or office.
Question: What is a circuit breaker?
Answer: Essentially, a circuit breaker is a safety device meant to protect buildings from electrical hazards resulting from power surges in electrical wiring. The breaker monitors how much energy is sent to specific circuits and cuts that power off, or trips, when it overloads.
Question: Are circuit breakers in all homes?
Answer: All new homes are built with circuit breakers. Older homes sometimes use the previous technology, fuses, to monitor electrical usage.
Question: What advantages do circuit breakers have over fuses?
Answer: Circuit breakers make it much easier for home owners or tenants to pinpoint problem areas in their electrical load. When examining a panel box, it is easy to tell which breaker has blown because it will be in the “off” position. Also, unlike fuses, circuit breakers do not have to be replaced after they trip.
Dan Horan is an experienced electrician who has been working in residential, industrial, and commercial capacities for more than 20 years. Priority One Electric serves Southern California in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Riverside Counties.