What is an Arc Fault? Can it be stopped? - Parker & Sons Skip to content

What is an Arc Fault? Can it be stopped?

We’ve talked about it in our press release; we thought we should go into it here on the blog as well. ‘Arc Faulting’ is the high power discharge of electricity between conductors. You almost certainly are familiar with the term ‘arcing,’ like that of an arc welder, when electricity is purposely discharged between conductors to create an intense heat. Well, a fault is the accidental discharge of such an arc.

The arc fault is an accidental arc made from a current moving through an unplanned path. The arc is high intensity heat that results in burning, and could easily ignite nearby objects or materials. That’s right, an unplanned discharge of electricity moving through an unknowable path could lead to intense devastation. We don’t mean to scare you, but if you are that is understandable, we have electricity running through all the surfaces in our home, and the thought that any of it might discharge in a manner that may harm is frightening. But what if that path or the discharge was knowable before hand? That’s where the AFCI comes in.

The AFCI or Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter is similar to its cousin the GFCI, previously discussed on the blog. In essense, it is a circuit interrupter than can, through various advanced electronic technologies, sense changing arc conditions as they may fluctuate between normal and dangerous. As soon as the AFCI detects that the conditions have changed, it will automatically shut off power to that area to prevent any possible fire from breaking out.

Is this all really necessary? Well, it is certainly safer. Traditional breakers cannot detect those hazardous arcing conditions and electrical fires can be caused from those arcs, especially in areas of a home that aren’t easily monitored. With an AFCI that area is now easily monitored automatically by the system itself, reducing the chances that it becomes a source of an electrical fire.

This AFCI is just another example of the constant improvements coming down the pike in the field, and as always we here at Parker & Sons are staying on that bleeding edge to keep your homes powered, comfortable, but more importantly, safe.

 

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