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News & Press: IAEI International

NEMA Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter Basics Training Course Now Available

Monday, January 07, 2013  
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As was mentioned in the GFCI and AFCI Basics article in the May/June issue ofIAEI News,a new free on-line training course covering the basics of AFCI circuit breaker installation and troubleshooting is now available. NEMA partnered with UL Knowledge Services (formerly known as UL University) to produce this course.

The goal of this course is to help contractors complete the trouble-free installation of AFCI circuit breakers and other devices and what they should do in the unlikely event that unwanted tripping should occur. The course is intended for anyone who installs electrical systems in residences, whether they are single, multifamily or apartment buildings—in other words, anywhere the use of AFCI circuit breakers are required by theNEC. Because AHJs often have the opportunity to help contractors solve problems and get the word out about new innovations in the industry, they should have an interest in this course as well.

Why is training important?

As is the case with any product, the ultimate success of the product is dependent not only on its design but also on its installation. In the case of AFCI circuit breakers, success is dependent not only on the installation of the circuit breaker itself but also on the installation of the cable and devices in the branch circuit. Proper installation practices can reduce the possibility that unwanted tripping will occur.

Troubleshooting skills are also important to the success of AFCIs in reducing the risk of electrical fires in homes. Finding the cause of AFCI tripping can sometimes be challenging. Knowing how to find the cause of tripping can save contractors and homeowners money, time and frustration.

What does the course cover?

The course covers how to properly install AFCIs and other residential branch circuit components and how to find and fix electrical system problems that might cause AFCI circuit breakers to trip. It’s broken down into 10 lessons.

  • Product knowledge
  • Code requirements
  • Wire routing and installation
  • How to install an AFCI circuit breaker
  • How to install wiring devices and hard wired equipment
  • Perform a final system test
  • How to troubleshoot
  • Installing AFCIs in existing homes
  • Success stories and additional resources

There is a knowledge check at the end of each lesson and a final quiz at the end. While it takes a couple hours to complete the entire course, it is possible to exit the course at any time and to return to the point where you left off later on.

How can I take the course?

The course is now available on the UL Knowledge Services web site at www.ul.com/afcisafety, or from theulknowledgeservices.comhome page, search for "AFCI”. You will need to register with UL Knowledge Services if you have not previously done so. While you will be asked to place the course in your shopping cart, the course is free. A link to the course is also available on the home page at afcisafety.org.

Summary

The success of AFCIs in reducing the residential electrical fire problem in the USand Canadais not just product dependent but also installation dependent. In other words, we need AFCIs that trip when they should and don’t trip when they shouldn’tandinstallation practices that don’t introduce problems that may cause AFCIs to trip initially or later on. That is why the course also covers the installation of cables and devices.

By taking this course, a contractor’s customers will benefit from the increased safety afforded by AFCI circuit breakers without experiencing annoying unwanted tripping. They will benefit by experiencing fewer call-backs, which means more profit for them or their company, and the peace of mind in knowing that they have done their best to improve the electrical safety of the homes they wire.

Finally, the course describes how to troubleshoot circuits in the event tripping should occur.