The Importance of AFCIs in High-Traffic AreasArc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) may not be a strict necessity, but they are highly recommended for homes with exposed wiring in high-traffic areas. Examples of such areas include T-104 setups on walls adjacent to doors, STJ cords on floors, and cables within cabinets connected to duplexes. At an affordable price of around $35 and a capacity of up to 40A, AFCIs are a smart investment for your home's safety.
Safety Benefits of AFCIsAFCIs provide several essential safety benefits, such as:
1. Prevention of Low-Level ArcingAFCIs can help prevent low-level arcing that may result from high moisture, dust, or damaged wire insulation.
2. Prevention of Ground ShortsThese devices can prevent ground shorts, which occur when exposed live wires come into contact with a grounded box.
3. Prevention of Circuit ShortsAFCIs also prevent circuit shorts, which are sudden significant power surges caused by live wires contacting neutral wires.
AFCIs vs. Standard Circuit BreakersStandard circuit breakers protect against wire overheating due to overload by being thermally activated. They trip when the power flowing through them exceeds their rating, with the tripping time depending on the load. While ground shorts and circuit shorts can happen with both GFCI and AFCI devices, the resulting damage is usually minimal. Combining an AFCI with a GFCI receptacle offers some of the best protection available for your home.
Professional Installation of AFCIsAFCIs come with easy-to-follow instructions and wiring diagrams. However, it's crucial to have them installed by a licensed electrician to ensure proper functioning and safety.
A Stealth Tip for Circuit UpgradesFor homeowners who can install a breaker and run a circuit, here's a helpful tip: If your home or bedroom has had its circuitry upgraded since 2002 (in the USA), there is likely already an AFCI in your breaker box for each bedroom. To avoid raising suspicion (for example, having three AFCIs in a two-bedroom house), you can use a regular breaker in the main panel and run a small subpanel for the AFCI. This setup can also function as a main cutoff for a small to medium-sized grow operation.