New Homes built under Florida’s Building Code are required to include Arc Fault Breakers (AFCI Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters) in the panel box. Maronda Homes are no exception. Most people don’t pay any attention when this is pointed out during the new home orientation as they are looking at a panel box. It looks like other panel boxes they have seen and they are thinking about the ten thousand things they need to do to get ready for their closing which is only a week away. What do they need to know anyway? A circuit “pops” and you flip a “switch like thing” in the breaker box, it’s not like you need to keep fuses around.
That may be what you are thinking during the walk through, but what about after you have your tree lit with ten thousand lights, the little choo choo train going around the track passing through Santa’s village all lit up with the moving figurines on the mirrored ice skating rink around the bottom of the tree. Then as the pine needles build up on the floor you bring out the new twelve amp vacuum to clean it up. You plug in the vacuum, turn it on and pop. The breaker blows, the tree lights go out, the train stops and the figurines stop skating. Santa’s Village has gone dark. You go to the garage, reset the breaker and get back to work and pop, it happens again. This didn’t happen in your old house, and your NEW HOUSE should be better than your old house so what’s up?
Remember that boring talk in front of the panel box when the superintendent was saying blah, blah, blah about the panel box. Stuff only a superintendent could get excited about? Well, the new panel boxes have Arc Fault breakers. One of the ways Arc Fault breakers differ from the old breakers is that they will trip “as soon as the amperage exceeds the rated limit“. That means “as soon as” you go over fifteen amps even for just a moment, on a fifteen amp circuit, the breaker will trip. The old breakers didn’t react that fast. Since these breakers are designed to detect arcing, (essentially sparking) they react very fast. This is actually a good thing and it does improve the safety of the home. But that can be hard to remember while you are quickly trying to find an outlet on a different circuit that you can plug in the vacuum and get those needles picked up before the in-laws arrive and ring the door bell. Helpful Hint, try turning off the tree and all of its accessories, vacuum and then turn it all back on again after the vacuum is off.
Have a very Happy Holiday, from all of us at Maronda Homes