When it comes to kitchen appliances, you want to be sure you have all the necessary protections to avoid anything risky happening to your circuit breaker. Having peace of mind using your household appliances is key to a happy home.
An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, referred to in short as AFCI, is one of those protections commonly found in households, specifically on kitchen appliances like your dishwasher. They provide better protection than the standard circuit breaker against hazardous arcing conditions that could lead to house fires.
When it comes to electrical help, call your electrician
The National Electrical Code made AFCIs a requirement for households in 1999. A big question many homeowners have is whether they need AFCI protection on all their appliances.
Rather than scour the internet looking for the answer, it's right here in this article. Your questions will be answered, like what AFCI is, how AFCI works, and why you need it.
AFCI is a type of circuit breaker. AFCI circuit breakers can detect when an arc occurs, which is when the electrical current is disconnected from the ground, and the electrical currents jump a gap in the circuit.
The AFCI detects any arcing that happens in your electrical system. It will keep track of normal arcing versus dangerous arcing conditions in your electrical circuit. If things like dust or gas interrupt the arc's path, it can lead to an arc flash.
When an arc flash occurs, it creates high heat, leading to objects around the current heating to dangerous temperatures and catching fire. In addition, any insulation or framing near the electrical current when arcs' occur can ignite and lead to an electrical fire.
AFCI Protection for Kitchen Appliances Overview
There are three different types of AFCI circuit breakers. The three types available include:
You may be wondering the difference between AFCI and GFCI. GFCI is a "ground fault circuit interrupter". AFCI breakers are used to protect the circuits from any damage from arcing, while GFCI is used to protect people from receiving an electrical shock. A GFCI receptacle (also known as a GFCI receptacle) or a GFCI Breaker is installed to help to prevent individuals from being shocked. A GFCI outlet is signficiantly more expensive than a standard electrical outlet.
This is why the AFCI and GFCI combination break is a common choice. It protects the wiring system from itself and protects you from the wiring system. Knowing the different options for circuit breaker protection available will better help you protect your home and your appliances from disaster.
With all the appliances and technology in a home combined, many unexpected instances can occur, including electrical fires and electrocution. For example, between 2015-2019, fire department reports showed that over 47,000 houses each year were involved in fires due to electrical malfunctions or failure.
A great way to protect yourself from having to experience such a disaster is by taking the necessary precautions beforehand and installing preventative measures against these disasters.
The AFCI will shut off the power to the circuit breaker so that the arc cant get hot enough to start an electrical fire. Preventative methods like an AFCI can help you have peace of mind within your home and your home appliances.
In most houses, the appliances that take up significant energy are located in the kitchen or laundry room; the fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer. Because of these appliances, the National Electrical Code set up its requirements for AFCI protection.
Because these appliances use such high voltages of electricity, protections using AFCI are necessary for preventing or catching arcing. These precautions are in place to save you and prevent damages or fires from inflicting upon your home.
The cost of installing AFCI protection in your home depends on two things. First, it depends on the electrician you hire and if there are any issues during installation. If you have any installation issues, it can result in the electrician raising the price of your AFCI installation.
Each circuit breaker can cost around $30-$35. Then you have to factor in the installation cost and the fee to the electrician. When it comes to electrical services, don't do it yourself - leave it to the professionals.
Electrician fees can vary depending on your location, but they can range from $50-$250 per hour. So with all the costs combined, replacing your old circuit breakers and installing AFCI will cost upwards of $160-$300.
If you use an electrician who doesn't install your circuit breaker properly, it can cause tripping issues within your breaker, which can be due to faulty wiring. If you have faulty wiring, you will have to get that fixed, and you may end up paying more in the long run.
Therefore, it's best to go with a high-quality electrician to ensure your AFCI breaker is correctly installed, ensuring you won't have to do it over again later.
Do your due diligence to find reputable electricians in your area. Many will give you a quote for the process, so you’ll be able to pick someone who is within your budget.
Yes. When it comes to using AFCI protection on your appliances, your dishwasher is a big one. When deciding if you should get AFCI protection, it's best to check the National Electrical Code to see if your state requires it or not. If your state does require it, you'll need to get AFCI protection on all your circuit breakers.
Call an electrician - don’t do electrical work yourself
According to the National Electrical Code, AFCI breakers are not required when you only replace a panel box with the same number of circuits as before. However, they are required if they plan to replace the box with more circuits.
If your home isn't already using AFCI protection on your circuit breakers, you should remedy this situation, because it should be a priority to prevent your home from electrical fires. When installing AFCI protection, it's best to install it on all appliances, not just one or two.
Installing AFCI protection on all appliances will increase your overall electrical fire protection within your home. Usually, 15 and 20 amp branch circuits require AFCI protection. For example, your dishwasher is a powerful appliance that runs around 120-vault power. If you're installing an AFCI on your dishwasher, it will be on a separate circuit because of the amount of power it uses.