NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) statistics found there are almost 48,000 home electrical fires annually. As a result, more than 450 deaths, 1,500 people injured, and property damages amounting $1.5 billion occur every year.
Numerous electrical fires occur in homes constructed prior to 1970, which number more than 50% of the country’s housing. These older homes were built before the invention of many appliances and electronic devices that are now common. Nowadays, a typical home contains more TV sets than residents. This ever-growing need for electricity increases the risk of overloading the electrical system of an older home and the chances of electrical shock and fires.
The ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International) advises that every home that was built more than 40 years ago should have its electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician to check if it can handle modern loads. This electrician can also advise regarding upgrades and devices that may be needed to comply with current NEC (National Electrical Code) requirements that improve safety. Although these requirements are applicable only to new homes and remodels, they can still be installed in older homes by a licensed electrician as discussed below.
AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter)
According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates, widespread usage of AFCIs would prevent half of the electrical fires that break out annually. Extremely dangerous, an arc fault is caused by stressed or overheated wiring or devices. An AFCI is capable of a superior level of protection than a typical circuit breaker provides through its ability to detect and prevent arcing so fire will not occur.
At its introduction in 1999 to the NEC, the installation of AFCIs were only required in every bedroom. Subsequently, the NEC recommended that AFCIs should be installed in each room of a home. Guidelines set forth by the 2014 NEC give homeowners several options for implementing AFCI protection to be in compliance. Installing AFCIs in older homes with dated and deteriorated wiring would provide greater protection from electrical fires.
Part 2 will discuss GFCIs and TRRs.
Electrical Peace of Mind
Providing professional electricians since 1988 in Maryland, Cook Electric is the company you can rely on for all your electrical service needs. For knowledgeable, fair, honest, reliable, and conscientious service, call Cook Electric today at (410) 266-9040. We will be very glad to help you.