Chapter Corner

Brad Parlee

AFCI Circuit Breaker Usage is Up. Residential Electrical Fires are Down

Residential electrical fires dropped nearly 20 percent over the seven-year span of 2002 to 2009, according to a 2012 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report. Instituted in the 1999 National Electrical Code® (NEC), at first, only bedroom circuits required arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) circuit breakers. Since then, the NEC has continued to expand for greater protection throughout the home, and the incidence of fires involving electrical distribution and lighting equipment has declined as well. Unlike a standard circuit breaker, AFCI circuit breakers identify arcs or sparking in wiring and quickly de-energize a system to prevent a fire. As contractors, no one better understands the dangers of electricity and can appreciate the importance of making our homes safer.