What Every Homeowner Should Know About Arc Faults

An arc fault is a wiring problem that occurs when the sleeving around a wire deteriorates and the wire itself becomes exposed. When two exposed wires come close to one another, the electricity may arc between those wires, creating a spark. Arc faults typically happen inside the walls of the home. When an arc fault occurs near dry wall studs or insulation, the resulting spark can start a fire. If you are a homeowner, it's important to understand arc faults, how they can damage your property and what you can do to prevent them.

Who is At Risk

Older homes in particular are at risk to develop arc faults, because older wiring may more likely to have deteriorated and damaged wires. However, arc faults can occur in any home with electrical wiring, regardless of whether or not it is old or new. In the newest homes, damage to wires can occur when a homeowner punctures a wall, such as when a nail is used to hang a picture. In addition, mice are known to chew through wires, which can also lead to an arc fault.

How You Can Tell If Your Home Has An Arc Fault

Arc faults aren't often seen, because they commonly happen in the walls of the home. However, you may still notice some signs if your home's wiring has an arc fault. For example:

  • Warmth on the electrical outlet. You may also notice signs of a fire around the electrical outlet, like soot rising from it.
  • Hissing and buzzing noises. When an appliance or light is in use you may notice an electrical hissing noise in the walls.
  • Popping noises. You may notice a popping noise when you turn on a light switch.

What You Can Do About Arc Faults

If you have noticed the warning signs of arc faults taking place in your own home, or if you have other concerns about the safety and stability of the electrical system in your home, contact a certified electrician right away. He or she can assess your system and get it the care it needs. If you would like to protect your home's electrical system from arc faults, contact an electrician to install an arc fault circuit interrupter. Arc fault circuit interrupters can detect arcs, and shut down the circuit if an arc fault is detected. 

For more information about protecting your home from arc faults, contact an electrician, like All American Air & Electric, Inc., today. He or she can answer your questions and give you a quote for work if you need one.