Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters
An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is a type of circuit breaker that breaks the circuit when it detects a dangerous electrical arc, in order to prevent electrical fires. An AFCI distinguishes between a harmless arc that may occur incidental to normal operation of switches, plugs and brushed motors and an undesirable arc that can occur, for example, in a lamp cord that has a broken conductor in the cord.
AFCI breakers have been required for circuits feeding electrical outlets in bedrooms of homes by the Canadian Electrical Code since 2002.
Conventional circuit breakers only respond to overloads and short circuits so they do not protect against arcing conditions that produce erratic, and often reduced current. An AFCI is selective so that normal arcs do not cause it to trip. The AFCI circuitry continuously monitors the current and discriminates between normal and unwanted arcing conditions. Once an unwanted arcing condition is detected, the AFCI opens its internal contacts, thus de-energizing the circuit and reducing the potential for a fire to occur.
AFCI protection devices come with a test button on them. These should be tested once a month to ensure they are providing the proper protection to your homes electrical system.
In May of 2015, Canadian Electrical Code changed the rule pertaining to AFCI’s. It now requires all outlets in houses to be on have AFCI protection with a few exceptions.
If you would like more information, contact Benoit Electric and we would be happy to answer any questions you have.