Scorching at receptacle connection
    HOW DO ELECTRICAL FIRES START?
    A poor electrical connection can happen at plugs and other connections
    throughout the house.  Properly installed wiring uses non-flammable
    material around connections due to the tendency of connections to heat
    up.  Appliance, lamp and extension cords can become damaged creating
    a bad connection anywhere along the cord.  The poor connection can
    create a lot of heat in a small area (at the connection) without tripping the
    circuit breaker.  If there is something flammable near the heated up
    connection, it can start a fire.  That is why it is always a good idea to keep
    flammable items away from plugs, etc.  The scorched receptacle pictured
    was caused by a bad connection, however the non-flammable materials
    prevented a fire.  See EXTENSION CORDS IN YOUR HOME for more
    information.


    WHAT IS AN AFCI?
    The arc fault circuit interrupter was developed to reduce the risk of
    electrical wiring related household fires.  The AFCI is a special kind of
    circuit breaker that is installed in the electrical panel.  It usually has a
    yellow test button.  It is designed to sense the typical arcing (sparking) at
    a poor connection and will turn off the electrical power to that circuit.  AFCI
    circuit breakers are available for most post 1990 electrical panels.  AFCI
    breakers are larger than regular breakers, which limits the number that
    can be installed in a typical panel.  If you have one that keeps tripping,
    unplug everything from that circuit before attempting to reset it.  The latest
    development is AFCI receptacles, which could be installed in the place of
    most receptacles.  Pictured below are 2 AFCI circuit breakers next to a
    regular double circuit breaker in an electrical panel.
    SHOULD I HAVE AFCI PROTECTION INSTALLED?
    AFCI circuits have been required in residential bedroom circuits since about 2010.  Bedrooms were originally targeted
    due to the vulnerability while sleeping.  The final development and implementation of AFCI's took longer than original
    anticipated and the cost was relatively high.   With the costs coming down, it is becoming an attractive upgrade,
    especially if you have an older home, however you may also have to upgrade the electrical panel.  Other than cost
    and size limitations, I don't see any reason why every circuit in a house shouldn't have arc fault protection.


    Be sure to have a qualified electrician install AFCIs; do not attempt this work yourself.  The installation involves
    working within electrical panel boxes that are usually electrically live, even with the main circuit breakers turned off.
AFCI CIRCUIT BREAKERS
BRADY HOME INSPECTION
ELECTRICAL FIRES & AFCI'S
Go to Extension Cord Article