AFDD stands for Arc Fault Detection Devices. An arc is a visible plasma discharge produced by electrical currents passing through a nonconductive medium like air. Arc fault detection devices are protected devices installed in the consumer units. These devices protect against arc faults. These devices can easily detect any unusual event with the use of micro processing technology and analyze the waveform of the electricity. It protects the affected circuits and prevents fire damage. These devices have a test button that an end-user may operate to prove the mechanical operation of the device.
Creation of an Arc
An arc is created when an electric current jumps the gap between two conductive materials. The major cause of an arc creation is the worn contact in electrical equipment, damage to insulation, loose connections, and a break in a cable or an electrical wire.
Arc Fault Defined
Arc faults are discharges from the electric conductors of a circuit. This discharge produces a lot of heat that may cause a fire. The arc faults vary in electrical currents that determine the strength and duration of the arc fault. An arc fault can be less harmful if it has a lower amp, but an arc fault with a higher amp can cause a lot of danger.
Types of Arc Faults
Different types of arc faults are present in different circuits. These arc fault types are;
- Earth arc fault
- Parallel arc fault
- Series arc fault
Earth Arc Fault
This arc fault is also known as the ground arc fault. It always happens when the conductor current is in contact with the ground or earth. This allows the current to flow through the ground or earth. It may occur if the insulation of the cables is damaged.
Parallel Arc Fault
This type of arc fault occurs in the event when there are two power phases close to each other. It may also be because of the distance between the ground and a phase. If the insulation material is degraded or material is contaminated, then a parallel arc fault may be produced. Loose connections of the circuits may also cause a parallel arc fault.
Series Arc Fault
Series arc fault always happens in series with current load present in the circuits. It may be because of loose connections between the wires and terminals. Another reason might be the incomplete connection of a cord that results in increased contact resistance. This will produce arcs with high heat and temperature.
Size of an Arc Fault Detection Device
Currently, an AFDD is twice the size of the circuit breaker. It requires a large consumer unit to accommodate.
Why is an AFDD Installation Necessary?
It is highly recommended to install an arc fault detection device due to its various advantages, but it is up to you if you want to install or omit it. You must carefully consider the relevant risks and other safety factors against the cost of the arc fault detection device installation. If there are high chances of fire, you must install an arc fault detection device without considering the cost. You need to install an arc fault detection device cost.
Best Locations to Install an Arc Fault Detection Device
While installing an arc fault detection device, you must carefully think about the locations where you need to install an arc fault detection device. The best locations for arc fault detection device installation are;
- Sleeping accommodations such as hotels, houses, and hostels
- Structures that propagate fire, such as timber-framed buildings and thatched buildings
- Locations where there is combustible construction material such as wood
- Locations that have irreplaceable goods such as a museum, items with sentimental value, and listed buildings
- Locations with processed or stored materials such as storage houses and stores of combustible material
Installation of an Arc Fault Detection Device
It is unlikely that you can install an arc fault detection device in an existing consumer unit just because of the connections’ spare space and the existing busbar arrangements. An AFDD requires a busbar with live and neutral connections.
Benefits of an Arc Fault Detection Device
You must wonder why an arc fault detection device is important and worth considering. There are a lot of benefits to installing an arc fault detection device into your main board, at least. Few benefits are mentioned below;
- Arc fault detection devices have improved the reliability of the installation of electrical circuits.
- An AFDD may save the life of a person or a property.
- These devices have improved circuit breakers’ efficiency and fulfilled their customers’ needs.
- These devices provide better protection against arc faults.
- These devices reduce the risks of electrical fire dangers.
- It protects from over current protection.
- These devices play a safety role during events of short circuits and earth leakages.
Cost of an Arc Fault Detection Device
A complete consumer unit along with RCBOs, circuit breakers, and wirings has a huge cost. The cost may also vary from brand to brand and from model to model. Currently, the demand for arc fault detection devices has increased due to numerous benefits. If you compare the cost with its lifetime benefits, you would never consider the cost of an arc fault detection device as high as it seems.
Arc fault detection devices can detect the arc faults that much other safety or protected devices cannot. Arc fault detection devices have made it easy to protect the locations, devices, people, and appliances from fire damage. If you have an arc fault detection device installed at your place, there is no need to worry. There will be no event of electrical fires at your place. These devices enabled circuits to provide satisfaction to the end-users while meeting the needs of their customers.