Every year, about 51,000 electrical home fires in the United States result in $1.3 billion in property damage. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 50 percent of these fires could be prevented by proper AFCI protection.
Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are integral to your home’s electrical safety. They protect your home from electrical fires by disrupting the circuit if it detects a dangerous arcing fault in the system.
When an AFCI trips, it means it has just prevented a possible fire. A breaker that keeps tripping, however, indicates that there is a bigger problem. Frequent tripping will wear it down, causing it to fail to function correctly. Below you will find common issues that could cause your AFCI breaker to trip and when you should call an electrician near me in Southlake, TX.
Loose cables, exposed connections, and non-insulated cables could cause the AFCI to trip. Outdated wiring in older homes is another potential fire hazard. Improperly wired outlets, light fixtures, and switches could cause the breaker to trip. This is usually a problem when homeowners try to DIY electrical issues.
Always hire a licensed electrician near me when you have an electrical problem. Not only will the job be done efficiently and correctly, but the technician will also know how to handle electricity to prevent injury and shock safely.
Frayed and damaged cords are another fire hazard that will cause the AFCI to trip. Overusing extension cords or even nailing them in place can cause an arc fault.
Running cords through doors and windows, pushing furniture against an outlet, or laying an extension cord across a room will wear cords out much faster. Some people will staple decorative lights to hang them in place, thereby damaging the cord. You could also damage a wire behind a wall when trying to nail something.
Replace damaged cords and avoid putting them under undue pressure. Also, avoid running cords across a path, as they can be a tripping hazard. Use special hanging clips to keep your cords and light strings in place. Rats are known to chew through wires and often choose hard-to-reach places. This usually goes unnoticed. Call your electrician near me to inspect the cables if you suspect a rodent problem.
AFCI breakers will trip, too, if the circuit gets overloaded. Plugging too many devices into one outlet will cause the wires to overheat and cause a fire, as will using too many high-energy appliances on one circuit.
If it’s always the same breaker that trips and only if you use a specific appliance, you should plug it into another outlet. Try to keep your power tools, refrigerator, washing machine, and vacuum cleaner on separate circuits. Ask your electrician near me to install more outlets and add special circuits dedicated to those appliances.
Faulty and Incompatible Appliances
Some old appliances could cause an AFCI to trip due to their electricity use. Other appliances that could trip the breaker include televisions, treadmills, vacuum cleaners, power tools, machines, and fluorescent lights. Often the fault is neither in the device nor the AFCI breaker. Your electrician near me might need to install a newer breaker compatible with these appliances.
Faulty appliances that don’t work well or have damaged cords can cause an AFCI to trip. Keeping old and damaged devices is not worth the risk and should be replaced as soon as possible. Ensure that you plug cords into an outlet. Half-plugged prongs can create a spark, tripping the breaker.
To find the appliance that caused the AFCI to trip, you need to unplug every device and turn off the lights on that circuit. Turn them on and plug in appliances one by one to see which one is at fault. Check the devices for damaged cords. Call an electrician near me if you still can’t find the cause. The issue might lie with the wiring. The professional will check the whole circuit, including the lights, switches, outlets, and the AFCI breaker.
A faulty AFCI breaker can overheat and fail to trip, leading to an electrical fire. Incorrect installation or wrong size could cause it to malfunction. Try to avoid resolving this yourself.
Always call a licensed and experienced electrician near me in Southlake, TX to do repairs on the electrical panel. The electrical panel contains live wires from your utility line and can easily shock someone who does not know what to look for.
AFCIs are very sensitive, which can cause them to trip for no reason or when there is no load on the circuit. Early AFCI models used to trip very often. Modern AFCIs are better at detecting dangerous arcs, but they sometimes overreact.
The only way to figure this out is to do a step-by-step search of everything on the circuit. If this doesn’t solve it, an electrician near me may have to scrutinize every outlet, switch, and electrical connection. Sometimes the wrong wires sit too close and could cause the breaker to trip. Other times the technician will simply have to exchange the AFCI for a more recent model.
Remember that this doesn’t mean you should ignore a frequently tripping AFCI breaker. It trips for a reason, and it could save your life. It might be annoying, and could take a while before your electrician near me finds out exactly the problem. But removing the breaker altogether would be a big mistake.
Keep Your Home and Loved Ones Safe by Hiring Buffalo Electric
We can’t imagine living without electricity, nor do we want to imagine the dangers that uncontrolled electricity presents. Our team of expert electricians in Southlake, TX is trained and licensed and have years of experience dealing with all kinds of residential electrical problems.
We offer various services, including electrical repairs, lighting installations, wiring and rewiring, generator services, and electrical panel upgrades. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at Buffalo Electric today.
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