What Is Arc Flash and How Do You Prevent It?

March 7th, 2017 Terry Sabers

Arc flashes are very dangerous, and they are one of the many reasons why only certified electricians should attempt to do most electrical work. An arc flash occurs when an electric current veers off its intended path and passes through the air while moving from one electrical conductor to another conductor or to the ground. These flashes can result in a large amount of electricity – often at deadly levels – being expelled very quickly  and, according to General Electric, they can cause temperatures to briefly reach as high as 35,000 degrees F in just a matter of seconds. As you can imagine, that can do quite a bit of damage and even kill a person.

Arc FlashFortunately, arc flash is preventable in most cases, but it’s important to understand how arc flash occurs to stop it from happening. There are quite a few things that can cause arc flashes to occur. For example, faulty installation of electrical components can do the trick. Human error is one of the leading causes of arc flash, which is why it’s all the more important to make sure that you use a trusted electrician for any new installation or repair work being performed.

A second contributing factor to arc flash is corrosion. Worn or old components can more easily short out, leading to arc flashes. Condensation, material failure, accidental touching and even dust on electrical components has also been known to cause arc flashes.

Finally, antiquated equipment is a final leading cause of arc flash. Many businesses and residences rely on electrical systems that were installed when the buildings were first constructed, which in some case can be half a century or longer. If electrical systems were not properly and completely updated at any point, old fixtures and equipment without safety features designed to prevent arc flash could be present, and could lead to a very serious and potentially hazardous incident.

If you are planning to have electrical work done on your home or business, call licensed professionals who know exactly what they are doing – call the team at Muth Electric. Our expert electricians can handle all of your installation and repair needs and can even perform an inspection of your existing electrical system to identify faults or issues that may not be obvious, helping ensure a continuous and safe flow of electricity. Learn more about arc flash prevention or schedule a service appointment with us today by calling 605-996-3983.



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