How mice set house on fire: a smoke detector can save lives, but arc fault protection helps prevent fire from occurring

Christmas is coming, and the New Year's Eve is not far away. Unfortunately, with the outside temperatures dropping lower, reports on fire accidents become more regular, and more than half of them is caused by electrical failures. A smoke detector sounds an alarm of fire, but it is wiser to prevent accidents from occurring at all. ABB electric arc fault protection comes in handy here.

When Christmas approaches and it is freezing outside, reports on fire accidents become more frequent.
When Christmas approaches and it is freezing outside, reports on fire accidents become more frequent.

Statistics do not lie. Rescue services' fire safety raids at our neighbour country Estonia have revealed the harsh truth that about three quarters of all buildings are proven to have defects. In addition, Estonian data shows that 50 people died in a fire last year, and 39 this year.

Electric arc detection device provides protection against fire accidents

A fire is easier to prevent than to extinguish. Everyone can do a lot to make their surroundings as safe as possible. Rescue services warn that a fire becomes life-threatening in minutes. Therefore, the bedrock of fire safety is conscious behaviour both during and before a fire occurs, and all the available fire prevention tools shall be considered.

Regarding fire safety, there are both mandatory regulations and a number of recommended measures, the difference depending on whether the building is public or private. For example, a smoke detector is mandatory in every home, as of 2020, yet it is missing in more than half of private buildings. One can easily assume that a carbon monoxide sensor is very rare in homes, not to mention an arc fault protection device.

However, the latter one is proven to be able to prevent most electricity-related fire accidents, which, according to the statistics of the Rescue Board, form more than half of all fire accidents. ABB has developed Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDD) S-ARC1 and DS-ARC1 which protect people, valuable assets and buildings and provide easier, better, and safer solution to fire prevention.

Malfunctioning electrical installation is a common cause of fire accidents.
Malfunctioning electrical installation is a common cause of fire accidents.

Electric arcing can also occur as a result of rodent activity

To understand the nature of an electric arc, one should delve deeper into physics and particularly electricity, but let it remain the domain of specialists.

Let us imagine an apartment in an ordinary house. In general, everything related to electricity is whether in front of one’s eyes or out of sight. It must be understood that the source of danger can be both here and there. We can never be completely sure about the wiring or the connected devices, even if we have installed them ourselves. Only one weak component in the whole chain is enough to create risk.

It is not easier with the devices that we have in front of our eyes and use daily. Refrigerator, vacuum cleaner, electric iron, Christmas lights, electric candles - all of these are potential sources of danger under certain conditions. Wherever electricity is used, there is danger. By the way, human body is a very good electrically conductive system. The effect of electric current on a living being depends on the type, amount and the duration of current flow. In a domestic power network, a dangerous voltage of 220 volts is used, which has a potential to form an electric arc.

The most common causes of electric arcing are damage to cable insulation, such as unsecured screws and nails, damage by furniture, as well as improper installation and securing of cables. Additionally, UV radiation and even damage by mice and rats can be fatal to the cables! It's not an urban legend at all, rodents have burned down many homes.

To prevent such accidents before they occur, it is worth considering preventive protection by installing an ABB arc fault detection device.

Accidents not only occur due to some faulty devices, they can be caused by any small rodent that accidentally gets into the house.
Accidents not only occur due to some faulty devices, they can be caused by any small rodent that accidentally gets into the house.

Two available versions with integrated accessories

In a nutshell, an electric arc fault detection device placed in an electrical panel shuts off the electrical circuit may an arc or spark occur on its line. Regular circuit breaker or RCD does not notice this. Thanks to prevention of electric arcs and interruption of a damaged circuit, ABB devices ensure reliable and complete protection for all types of buildings.

It is equally necessary to place an arc protection switch not only at private homes but also at public buildings: kindergartens, schools, sports facilities, shopping centres, as well as corporate facilities.

The devices are easy to install in both new buildings and already existing electrical installations. Both cables and power cords can be used to connect devices, and input cables can be connected to both the upper and lower terminals of the devices.

For safety reasons, do not carry out the installation yourself - please leave the work to an electrician!

Wishing you a safe Christmas,

Your ABB.

  • S-ARC1
  • DS-ARC1

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