Electrical insulation failure is a serious electrical safety concern.
It can cause electrical shock, electrical burns, electrical fires, or even explosions. Electrical insulators are designed to withstand the electrical stress inherent in energized electrical equipment and installations, withstanding the potential voltage without becoming electrically conductive (i.e., not allowing current flow).
When there is some form of electrical fault involving a circuit through which the current flows, it may result in an electrical arc that will almost invariably lead to electrical breakdown of the insulator material causing electrical arcing and resulting in sparks, smoke, or flames.
All you need is an electrical safety device that will protect your home and electrical appliances from unwanted hazards.
Common Electrical Safety Devices and Their Functions
It’s pretty common among homeowners to ask what type of safety devices are used in electric circuits. There are a few common electrical safety devices that you can find at home and in business areas. Let us explain their function and purposes.
These are passive electrical safety devices that operate without external equipment or personnel input under normal conditions. However, they may be manually operated by a switch or other electrical control circuit.
When triggered, they react instantly to bring about the disconnection of electrical power from the electrical circuit where there is a potential rupture of electrical insulation within the area served by the device.
The disconnection is achieved by operating a switch or relay (or another initiating device) that interrupts the electrical circuit’s current flow.
This may be wholly contained within one electrical equipment enclosure, such as where a motor includes its internal wiring, or it may involve part of an electrical installation, such as switching between more than one piece of electrical equipment.
You must apply overvoltage protection per National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements associated with Article 430i regarding Location and Arrangement of Overcurrent Protection and Article 430-71 regarding Overvoltage Protection.
These electrical safety devices detect electrical overvoltage conditions using electrical insulation breakdown voltages (IEC electrical test voltage). If the measured value is above the electrical safety device rated over-voltage sensitivity, they will operate to disconnect power.
These are the most common types of overvoltage protectors. Typically, circuit breakers come with low-voltage (less than 1000 volt) or high-voltage (more than 1000 volt) ratings.
Circuit breakers contain both fixed and moving contacts that touch each other and maintain the electricity flow. A spring keeps the electrodes in contact with each other to ensure an uninterrupted flow.
However, when a fault occurs in the circuit, the trip coil gets highly energized. Thus, it separates the electrodes from each other. In this way, the trip coil opens the circuit and protects it from any damage.
Overcurrent protectors are electrical safety devices that automatically disconnect electrical power to detect electrical current exceeding a safe value for an electrical installation circuit.
The disconnection is achieved by operating a switch or relay (or other initiating devices), interrupting current flow within the electrical circuit. High current electrical safety devices are usually connected in series with the electrical circuit and its electrical load(s) to protect against electrical overload faults (electric shock/arc flash hazard).
A range of high-current electrical safety devices is available, starting at ratings typically from 15 A up to 240 A for industrial applications. These electrical safety devices can be applied for use in a wide variety of different types of electrical installation conditions, such as cables, busbars, and switchgear.
High current electrical safety devices protect against electric shock or failure, which may cause an arc flash event depending on the state of operation at the time of the fault.
However, they do not provide any overvoltage protection. So electrical equipment must have its electrical overvoltage protection applied. The electrical installation current rating should not exceed that of the electrical safety device by more than 10% at any point in time.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s) are built to detect any anomaly within the electric system and react rapidly. They work by comparing the output current on the neutral side to the input current on the hot side for leaks that could be caused by human interference.
Moreover, GFCI can even pick up as low as 4 milliamps. When detecting an anomaly, a GFCI will trip or interrupt power in 10 milliseconds with just one keystroke, so you don't have another tragedy happen again.
Fuses are a safety measure to prevent electric fires. When an electrical current exceeds the maximum allowed, it will overheat and melt one of its metal strips, keeping the connection open.
Once this happens, electricity can no longer flow through until the fuse has been replaced. You should change fuses after one fault to protect appliances from power surges or other unforeseen events. Otherwise, it might trigger more than just one overload within a short period due to faulty wiring (e.g., during heavy rains).
If you aren't familiar with the term, a power surge is when there's an abrupt increase in electricity coming into your home.
Car accidents or downed phone lines can cause this, but often it's just due to natural causes like lightning storms outside of our homes. For this reason, some electrical safety devices such as fuses protect us from these sudden increases in current flow since we may not even know what happened!
However, unlike extension cords that don't have any protection against increased currents, many manufacturers offer warranties for their appliances if they get damaged because of them, so make sure you purchase one before taking on massive debt over lost items!
Arc Fault Circuit Breakers
AFCIs are a particular type of electrical safety device that uses chopped current waves to detect faults when the maximum rated value is not exceeded.
Some common types of electric arc fault include arcs in an air gap, such as those caused by dust or corrosion on the conductor's surface, poor installation of system components, and normal wear-and-tear for parts.
Unlike GFCI devices installed at receptacle outlets throughout your home (which use heat measurements), AFCIs can help prevent these dangerous situations before they happen!
No matter which electrical safety devices you need for your home or office, Electric Supply Depot can always arrange them and will reach your doorstep. So, don’t wait until something goes wrong. Call us now.