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Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) are electrical safety devices that look very similar to GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) but have a completely different purpose. While GFCIs are designed to prevent homeowners from having an electrical shock, AFCIs are designed to detect potentially dangerous electrical arc faults causing electrical fires. Arcing faults are one of the major causes of residential electrical fires. When arcing occurs, it generates high temperatures up to 10,000°F that can easily ignite combustible materials in the home such as wood, curtains, papers and carpets.
An arc fault is the flow of electricity over an unintended path. The main function of an AFCI is to detect, recognize and respond to changes in the electrical wave pattern. Once an AFCI detects hazardous arcing, which is characterized by unwanted changes in the wave pattern, it quickly turns off the circuit thus reducing the potential for a fire to occur.
Arc faults arise in various situations which include improperly installed or damaged electrical wires, worn electrical insulation, loose electrical connections, wires or cords that are overheated and stressed and/or in contact with vibrating metal and so on.
Over the years, the National Electric Code (NEC) provides an ever-expanding list of dwelling areas in the home that require AFCI protection. This includes:
- Living Room
- Dining Room
- Rec Room/Family Room
- Laundry Area
- Dens/Sun Room
Kern River Home Inspections strongly recommends homeowners in Bakersfield, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Delano, Lake Isabella and all of Kern County to consider having AFCI protection installed in the above-mentioned areas as a safety precaution. Ensuring high standards of safety is our absolute priority. If you would like to look for the presence of AFCI outlets in recommended locations or test if outlets are AFCI protected, consider hiring the best home inspection company in Kern County! Contact Kern River Home Inspections TODAY at bakersfieldinspections.com or you can call or text 661-205-9172.
A ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a life-saving device that is primarily designed to protect people from the deadly effects of electrical shock. Its function is to sense imbalances in the electrical current and turns off the power by tripping a relay within it in less than one second, eliminating shock hazard. GFCI protection is available as GFCI circuit breakers or as GFCI outlets. To explain it further, a GFCI is a special receptacle that detects the electrical current flowing to and from an outlet or an appliance. Ideally, these two should match each other. The slightest change will signal the GFCI to trip, shutting off the power. In short, GFCI protection is an important feature in every home and if installed properly, can save homeowners’ lives.
You might be asking yourselves now, where are GFCI outlets or receptacles required? GFCIs are usually installed in areas where water and electricity are in close proximity, such as bathrooms, kitchens and garages. It was first recommended in 1968 and at that time, they were only required as a method of protection for underwater swimming pool lights. Over the years, GFCI installation requirements were gradually added in more locations. During a home inspection, professional home inspectors in Kern River Home Inspections notice that older homes in Kern County, especially in Bakersfield, Ridgecrest and Kernville areas have some locations in the home where outlets are not GFCI protected. While it is true that GFCI protection may not have been required at the time the house was built, it is still highly recommended to upgrade the electrical system to include GFCI protection at required locations inside and outside your house. You might be surprised that even some newer homes in Kern County have some areas where outlets are not GFCI protected as required by today’s standards.
According to the National Electric Code (NEC), all 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-amp receptacles shall have GFCI protection in the following locations:
- Garages and accessory buildings
- Crawlspaces at or below grade level
- Unfinished basements
- Laundry rooms
- Within 6 feet of all plumbing fixtures
Kern River Home Inspections strongly recommends homeowners to consider having GFCI protection installed in the above-mentioned areas as a safety precaution. Ensuring high standards of safety is our absolute priority. If you would like to look for the presence of GFCI outlets in recommended locations or test if outlets are GFCI protected, consider hiring the best home inspection company in Kern County! Contact Kern River Home Inspections TODAY at bakersfieldinspections.com or you can call or text 661-205-9172.
This article was created by Kern River Home Inspections, providing home inspections, commercial inspections and mold inspections to Bakersfield and all of Kern County.
Most of you probably wouldn’t agree, but the bathroom is actually the most important room in your home. Why do we say so? Because this is where we start and finish our day. If you want to have a break from the world that’s around you, or to simply meditate and be alone with your thoughts, this is the best place to go. With that being said, Kern River Home Inspections believes that it is just as important to make sure that our bathrooms are properly maintained and taken care of. One of the ways to make sure that our bathrooms are in good condition is to maintain sufficient bathroom ventilation.
While performing Home Inspections on homes in Bakersfield, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi and Kern River Valley, one of the things that our Inspectors notice is that no exhaust fans were installed. Although the bathrooms have windows, it is not enough to promote effective ventilation. Having a bathroom exhaust fan in every home is an absolute necessity.
Bathroom exhaust fans serve a lot of purpose. Most people think that its sole function is to get rid of smelly bathroom odors, but having a bathroom exhaust fan is actually more essential than we think. It exhausts or removes moist air caused by daily bathroom activities such as taking showers, flushing the toilet, and even brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Elevated moisture levels may cause a number of problems, such as deterioration of materials, like peeling of the wall paint or wallpaper and shower wall tile detachment. It can also promote growth of microbes such as mold fungi and other microorganisms like staphylococcus or streptococcus, which can be extremely dangerous for our overall health. High humidity levels can also make the air feel warm and sticky, and eventually, if not prevented, can mess up with the overall temperature of your home. By getting rid of moisture-laden air from the bathrooms, it will help reduce your air conditioner’s workload as well as keeping your cooling costs under control. Another important use of bathroom exhaust fans is to get rid of the fumes caused by various bathroom cleaners. We normally use bathroom cleaners with aggressive chemicals, which can be extremely hazardous when inhaled, especially by small children, the elderly, or those with lung conditions.
Having a bathroom exhaust fan is absolutely an excellent investment. If there’s no exhaust fans installed in your bathrooms, Kern River Home Inspections suggests for you to consider installing one. It increases the lifespan of your bathrooms, saving you from tons of dollars’ worth of repairs and renovations in the future, as well as preventing you from possible health problems.
This article was created by Kern River HomeInspections, providing home inspections, commercial inspections and mold inspections to Bakersfield and all of Kern County.
Evaporative coolers are common in the dryer areas of Kern County. We see them on homes in Ridgecrest, Kernville, Lake Isabella, and Taft. Here is a quick video about evaporative coolers: