North American Operating Division
1601 Mercer Road
Lexington, KY 40511
Dear Electrical Inspector:
Our number one priority is the safety of our people, our customers and our products. Because of
this, we have placed a product hold on all Square D arc fault circuit breakers manufactured
between March 1, 2004, and September 23, 2004.
Our tests indicate that the arc detection capability in these breakers may become inoperable due
to an issue with a third party-supplied internal component in the electronic detection circuit. We
have found that the circuit breaker may not properly detect a high resistance low current arcing
The short circuit and overload protection functions of these circuit breakers continue to
function properly. This means that the circuit breakers will continue to provide the same level of
protection offered by a standard circuit breaker, but may not provide the additional arc fault
protection required by NEC 210.12.
This issue has been corrected and we have significantly increased our manufacturing capacity of
AFCI breakers, allowing us to replenish our distribution network as quickly as possible. All new
product circuit breakers are being air freighted from our manufacturing location directly to our
Until we have the supply chain restocked, we have prioritized the shipments of arc fault circuit
breakers to ensure the timely closings on our customers‚Äô homes. Square D contractors can work
with their local distributors and Square D field sales engineer to ensure their orders are expedited
to meet immediate needs.
We are also initiating a program to recover product that has been installed during this time frame
and replacing those with newly manufactured AFCI‚Äôs. Since you are in contact with many
contractors and consumers during your daily work, we appreciate any help you can provide in
making sure that everyone has the correct information about this recovery effort. As you are
aware, Square D has been a strong supporter of electrical inspection for many years and we
appreciate all the support you have given us already in this effort.
If there are questions regarding this effort, you can direct individuals to call their local Square D
field office or Square D distributor.
Further information is also available at www.us.squared.com.
I am sure you would agree we can accept nothing less than excellence when it comes to safety.
For more than 100 years, our customers have associated the Square D brand with industry
leadership, safety, quality and reliability.
Vice President, Industry and Government Relations
Here is some additional information.
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter Technology
Walter Smittle III
WV State Fire Marshal (Ret)
IFMA Past President
NASFM, Special Representative
Did you know that residential electrical fires reported by the National Fire Protection Association causes on the average nearly 73,000 fires every year. These fires are responsible for 591 deaths, 1,400 injuries and over $ 1 billion in property losses. Eighty-three percent (83%) of these electrical fires are caused by electrical arcing. Can something be done to resolve this electrical residential fire problem? This question is asked by the fire marshals and fire investigators every time when bodies have to be removed or a home is destroyed. The answer to this question is yes. Now, you can assist in reducing these unwanted losses by promoting a promising technology.
Electrical technology continues to improve providing a safer environment for the owners and occupants of dwellings. New materials and wiring methods and the development of the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to prevent accidental electrical shock is a success story for saving hundreds of lives. The National Electrical Code¬Æ (NEC) published by the National Fire Protection Association has approved a new technology for dwelling wiring and became effective January 1, 2002. This new technology is truly a remarkable accomplishment by the electrical industry and this technology is called the ‚Äúarc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI).‚Äù This technology as reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will trip an AFCI in order to prevent electrical arcing that may cause a fire. Arc-fault circuit interrupter information can be reviewed on the Internet at the following websites:
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant