You only need to install an AFCI circuit breaker in a house electrical panel if you need to upgrade or change a specific circuit. However, most businesses, dorms, and flats must have an AFCI circuit breaker.
Typically, a regular breaker can be used to replace it. But why do you want to lower your electrical system’s level of protection? To learn how to install an arc fault breaker, see this article.
What You Must Do to Prepare for the Installation of an Arc Fault Breaker
- Circuit breakers with an AFCI or GFCI to match the circuit’s amperage Flashlight Screwdrivers
- conductive-free floor mat
- Your arc fault circuit breaker position and the appliances you intend to hook into it will determine how many amps it can handle. A high amp arc fault circuit breaker is required for high-power machines and motors. For all 120-volt single-phase lines, the recommended AFCI capacity should be between 15 and 20 amps.
- Keep in mind that any room can have an AFCI circuit breaker fitted if the appliances or devices only need 120 volts.
- 1 AFCI Circuit Breaker Installation Guide in Step-by-Step Form
- 2 Warning
- 3 Can a standard circuit breaker be used to replace an arc fault breaker?
- 4 Conclusion
AFCI Circuit Breaker Installation Guide in Step-by-Step Form
Get an AFCI or AFCI/GFCI Circuit Breaker
Get an AFCI or GFCI/AFCI circuit breaker specified for your service panel and matches the amperage of the circuit (often 15 or 20 amps). Circuit breakers from the same manufacturer must be used since different manufacturers’ breakers have somewhat varying connection styles. For instance, if your panel has Siemens or Square D circuit breakers, you need to get breakers from that company as well.
Square D’s HomeLine and QO versions are their two main variants, which is a concern. Eaton produces both a CH and a BR. Along with Eaton’s CH and BR, the HomeLine and QO are not equivalent. Circuit breakers made by third parties typically include a manufacturer’s name, such as “Square D by Schneider,” to indicate the panel they are meant to fit.
Turn off the electricity and take off the panel cover.
Put a rubber floor mat that is non-conductive on the ground in front of the primary circuit breaker panel. Step on the mat, open the panel door and turn off the main circuit breaker. Additionally, switch the OFF position on the circuit breaker you intend to replace.
Remove the screws around the front cover’s perimeter to release it from the panel. Separate the panel cover and screws.
Despite the rarity of mishaps, skilled electricians typically insulate themselves while working at the service panel to reduce the chance of shock. To do this, you must stand while working in the panel while wearing insulated boots and a non-conductive floor mat. NEVER work on this project in stocking feet or bare feet.
Start AFCI Installation Wiring
If you add a new circuit for the AFCI circuit breaker, you require new electrical wiring. Do not forget to utilize the proper wire size for your AFCI breaker. When using a 20 amp breaker, the appropriate wire size is 12 gauge, and the suggested wire size for a 15 amp circuit is 14 gauge.
However, you must first identify the circuit’s neutral wire to convert an existing circuit breaker to an AFCI circuit breaker.
Rewiring the Electrical Lines
It is challenging to rewire an electrical line to upgrade a circuit breaker, especially when you have to locate the neutral wire of a particular circuit. You won’t encounter any difficulties if your panel is labeled. If not, you should do these actions.
Pulling the opposite end of your electrical wiring will allow you to view the moving wire in your electrical panel and help you locate the unlabeled cable. Before connecting your traced neutral wire to the AFCI breaker, I strongly advise verifying it several times.
Install the AFCI Circuit Breaker
The extra wire of the breaker has to connect to the neutral bar; there is a label on the breaker itself for wire connection during wire installation. I also advise following the instructions in this electricaltechnology.org arc fault breaker wiring schematic. They will demonstrate the AFCI breaker’s wiring diagram and help you comprehend it better.
You may also utilize any AFCI brand that satisfies the criteria of your AFCI installation, such as Square D Arc Fault Breakers.
Do AFCI Circuit Breaker Test
Turn the main breaker and the AFCI breaker on AFCI circuit breaker test. The test button can then be selected. You can also use it; however, an AFCI tester is more precise.
You only need to plug the AFCI tester into the AFCI line and click the AFCI test button to utilize it. In this scenario, the device will generate an arc fault that the AFCI will detect and trip immediately.
Cover the Breaker Panel
It’s time to cover the panel once all the abovementioned stages have been completed without errors. Before installing the remaining screws, securely fasten the two higher corners.
Turn On the Power
The primary circuit breaker should then be activated after replacing the panel cover. Switch on the combination or AFCI circuit breaker. Press the test button to check the breaker. The switch must immediately become in the OFF position. Put the switch back in the ON position once it passes the test to reset the breaker.
Working on the main service panel can be particularly risky for DIYers who are untrained with electricity, and any electrical repair includes a risk of shock. If you work cautiously and consider the power source’s inherent risk, replacing a circuit breaker is pretty straightforward. However, you should engage a specialist to replace the circuit breaker if you are doubtful of your degree of expertise or experience.
Can a standard circuit breaker be used to replace an arc fault breaker?
You can, indeed. The panel of your outdated arc fault breaker can accommodate a conventional circuit breaker. However, if you don’t conduct a comprehensive investigation and identify the root of the issue, this might not be the solution.
When switching from a circuit breaker to an AFCI breaker, tracing the neutral wire is an essential component of the installation. Identifying the precise line of the circuit may be challenging if too many cables connect to the neutral bar. To avoid this kind of confusion, it is preferable to label each wire in the breaker panel.
Did you learn how to install an arc fault breaker from this article? Do you believe that, as a novice, you could complete this task? Write any further inquiries in the comments area below.
Are you looking forward to purchase and install quality arc fault breakers, contact us at ICRFQ. We manufacture quality electrical breakers in China.
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