ARC FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTORS (AFCI): An important electrical safety technology that can help save lives and avoid property damage from fire.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) actively supports and promotes the installation and use of Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) technology in residential and commercial buildings as an important electrical safety device to protect persons and property.
Each year in the United States, over 40,000 fires are attributed to events associated with home electrical wiring and components. These fires result in hundreds of deaths and over a thousand injuries each year.
Arc faults in a home are one of the leading causes for electrical fires.
An AFCI is a protection device designed to help prevent fires by detecting an unintended electrical arc and disconnecting the power before the arc starts a fire.
An AFCI is designed to detect the dangerous arcs that can result in fire, such as arcing across damaged wiring insulation or across a loose wiring connection, and simultaneously ignore harmless normal arcs that occur incidental to normal operation of switches, plugs, and brushed motors. AFCIs are designed to protect against both high current (parallel) and low current (serial) arcing.
The AFCI circuitry continuously monitors the electrical current and discriminates between normal and unwanted arcing conditions. An AFCI should not trip during normal arcing conditions, which can occur when a switch is opened or a plug pulled from a receptacle, or a device with a brush-type motor is in operation.
Once an AFCI detects an unwanted arcing condition, the AFCI opens its internal contacts to de-energize the circuit and reduce the potential for a fire to ignite.
AFCI technology is incorporated into different electrical product formats: circuit breakers, receptacle outlets, and it can also be built into appliance cords.
Consult the National Electrical Code® and local codes for AFCI installation requirements.