What is an Arc Fault Circuit Breaker and How Does it Safeguard Your Home?

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Breaker and How Does it Safeguard Your Home?

When it comes to electrical wiring and installations, people should be extra cautious regarding the use of safety devices. Just like you have door locks in your house which prevent the entry of any other individuals for safety concerns, you should also have an electrical device which is the arc fault circuit breaker. When two or more loose wiring connections create a spark, the situation is referred to as an arc fault. To prevent it from happening, an arc protection breaker is used in houses. But how does it safeguard anyone’s home? Let’s understand that.

Arc Fault Definition

An arc fault is a critical electrical problem caused by damaged or overheated electrical wiring and devices. It can happen when old wires break or fray, when a nail or screw destroys a wire behind a wall, or when outlets or circuits fail. In times like these, arc protection is required. But what is arc protection and how can we do it? Arc protection is a mechanism for quickly clearing arching faults on metal-clad switchgear, busbars and related cable boxes.

There’s an optical sensor that detects the arc and sends the signal to a protective device, which also checks the system's load current. The nature of arcing faults might provide challenges to conventional current-based protection approaches, resulting in delayed protection clearing times. Slow protective clearance times put surrounding workers in danger while also increasing the degree of damage to plants and equipment. By using optical detection technology, arc fault protection quickly removes arching faults. These sensors are often referred to as arc fault circuit breakers or arc fault circuit interrupters.

Circuits are typically protected by specific AFCI circuit breakers that protect all outlets and devices along the circuit, although AFCI outlets can also be used when this is not possible. Existing installations do not require AFCI protection; however, if a circuit is expanded or changed during remodelling, it must obtain AFCI protection. As a result, any maintenance done on your system by an electrician must include the installation of AFCI protection on the circuit. In practice, this implies that nearly all circuit breaker replacements will now be done using AFCI breakers in any jurisdiction that follows the NEC.


Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter Definition 

An arc fault circuit interrupter definition is quite simple. It is essentially a device that breaks or interrupts the circuit when it detects any loose electrical arc that may be caused due to frayed wiring. Damaged connections which are present for a long time can become hot enough to ignite the house. Various devices help detect the arc fault of the electrical wiring or devices. The best one in the market currently is the residual current circuit breaker available at Schneider Eshop.

The residual current circuit breaker is a 2P circuit interrupter with a current of 25A, 30mA earth leakage sensitivity and AC-type protection class. Owing to its high earthing sensitivity, electricians recommend this product for all power sockets at homes. This residual current circuit breaker is targeted to the residential market for stand-alone and collective buildings. Furthermore, this arc circuit breaker provides an electrical endurance of up to 10000 cycles along with 230VAC operational voltage and up to 20000 cycles mechanical endurance. The product is further compliant with EN/IEC 61008-2-1 standard, making it a trustworthy device for households. You can get this product in white colour from Schneider Eshop.

What is the Use of an Arc Fault Circuit Breaker?

Like fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and other emergency equipment, arc fault circuit breakers are intended to detect a variety of arcing electrical problems, reducing the danger of fire significantly. Electrical fires may be quiet killers in the house, causing considerable damage. The AFCI detects low-level dangerous arcing currents and shuts off the circuit before an electrical fire may start.

How Does An Arc Fault Circuit Breaker Work?

Advanced electrical devices detect both normal and dangerous arcing situations in the circuit. Some household appliances like furnace motors or motor-driven vacuum cleaners, naturally produce arcs which are considered normal Another common arching occurrence happens when a light switch is turned off and the contacts open, creating an arc. An AFCI detects these anomalous arcs, determines if they are harmful, and de-energizes the circuit before they become hazardous.

Is Arc Fault, Short Circuit & Ground Fault The Same?

Often arc fault, short circuit and ground fault are mistaken to be the same. But the three of them are different and each requires different strategies to prevent from happening.

Since you’ve already learned a lot about arc fault let’s understand short circuit and ground fault.

A short circuit is a situation where an energised “hot” current strays from the existing wiring system and makes contact with either the neutral wire pathway or the grounding pathway. When this occurs, the flow of current eliminates resistance and quickly rises in volume. This rapidly leads the flow to surpass the amperage capability of the circuit breaker that controls the circuit, which usually trips to cease the current flow.

Ground fault is a type of short circuit in which an energised “hot” current makes unintended contact with the ground. A ground fault is often referred to as “short to ground”. Like other forms of short circuits, circuit wires lose resistance during a ground fault, and this produces an unrestricted flow of current that should cause the circuit breaker to trip.

In this case, circuit breakers may not be able to prevent the shock quickly, so the National Electric Code (NEC) requires ground fault circuit interrupters to be installed in areas where the possibility of ground faults is higher. This includes outlets near plumbing pipes or in outdoor locations. Since this equipment detects power alterations so quickly, it can turn off a circuit even before a shock is felt.


An arc fault circuit breaker is thus an important protection device against possible fire that can occur in your house due to overheated wiring. With an arc fault circuit breaker, the chances of catching fire in a house due to disputed wiring become almost nil.

So, if you’re looking for a trusted circuit breaker then Schnieder eShop has got a residual current circuit breaker that can be used for individual and collective buildings. It is an online store for all electrical devices that are trusted and compliant with updated electricity codes. You can easily mitigate your electrical needs by shopping by category in this eShop.

Search engine powered by ElasticSuite