How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
What causes an arc fault?
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
An arc fault is any unintentional arcing/sparking in the house wiring, usually by a gap in the wires or their insulation. It can be parallel (hot to neutral or hot to ground) or series (a gap in the hot or neutral wire). Either way, the arcing can can cause burning temperatures that may exceed 10,000º F and can ignite nearby wood framing or other flammable materials. An arc fault can be caused by any of the following defects:
•• Degradation of wire older insulation due to age and heat, especially in an attic.
•• Squirrels or rodents chewing wire insulation, most likely in crawl space or attic.
•• Extension or power cords damaged by sharp bends, running under carpet or behind a bed headboard.
•• Sloppy wiring connection at electrical boxes or appliances.
An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is available as either a circuit breaker or receptacle. It recognizes any arcing in a circuit in a fraction of a second and shuts off power to the circuit to avoid starting a fire. To learn more, go to our blog posts When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required? and What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?
Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about AFCI and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS:
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