New homes built in 1999 were the first homes required to have a few arc fault circuit breakers installed. Over the years the National Electrical Code has evolved to require additional arc fault circuit breakers for most lighting and receptacle circuits throughout your house. If you have a home without arc fault protection then you need to install these breakers pronto in order to prevent electrical fires and other dangers.
So, what are arc fault circuit breakers? These breaker additions – also called “arc fault circuit interrupters” – will interrupt any dangers arc circuits so they don’t start an electrical fire. Since your normal circuit breaker doesn’t monitor arc faults, this additional piece is necessary to make sure all of your safety bases are covered.
Wondering what an arc fault is, or how they happen in the first place? If electricity moves in an unexpected way, then it could cause a fire as a result of it traveling in places it shouldn’t be (for example, if wires fray and sparks leap out and reach other materials that can catch fire). This is seen most often in older homes, since their electrical system isn’t equipped to deal with this danger. If this happens behind the walls, then the homeowner may not even know about it until it’s a real problem.
Even if you have an arc fault circuit breaker installed, you may notice that the breaker is tripping more often than seems normal. In this case, get in touch with your preferred electrician to have them take a look and figure out how to get your breaker working properly.