What is an Electric Arc?
It is an electric current, often strong, brief, and luminous, in which electrons jump across a gap. Electric arcs across specially designed electrodes can produce very high heats and bright light, and are used for such purposes as welding and illumination in spotlights. Unwanted arcs in electrical circuits can cause fires. Lightning is a case of an electric arc between one cloud and the earth, as are sparks caused by discharge of static electricity.
In early 2003, they were first introduced to the Canadian and Ontario Electrical code for only bedroom receptacles (outlets) for new construction and in the instances of a full electrical rewire. There previously was a problem with the old style arc fault breakers repeatedly tripping but this problem has since been rectified with the newer style breakers. Previously, appliances and vacuum cleaners in particular caused these breakers to trip, even though they worked quite well on a non-arc fault protected circuit.
The purpose of the arc fault breaker is to sense issues, or arcing, with the wiring between conductors and along the length of a conductor or items plugged into the circuit. Now with more receptacle circuits with arc fault breakers, your Ottawa home as a result will be safer. Circuits that do not get protected by the arc fault include fridge, sump pumps, hard-wired appliances, most counter receptacles, and detached garages. Hard wired Smoke detectors also are not included. Outdoor ground fault receptacles (GFI’s) on the house are to be fed with an arc fault breaker, but not receptacles more then 10 feet from the house.
All this may be a bit confusing, as it is new, but we have had many discussions with the local electrical inspectors from ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) over the past month and the legal electrical requirements are now fully understood.
If you have any doubt or questions as to how the new rules apply to arc fault breakers and when they are required in your Ottawa home, you can contact us via the website, www.ringelectric.ca or call the office to set an appointment at 613.421.4442.