Arc Fault usage, widespread?


Old 02-09-05, 09:18 AM
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Arc Fault usage, widespread?

It appears the use of arc fault breakers has been recommended for a couple years in the NEC for bedroom use. However I don't see many questions about it. How wide spread are their usage? How could I find out if my town disagrees with the NEC? Is more likely that locals don't use them?

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Old 02-09-05, 09:27 AM
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The easiest way to find out if there has been a local amendment to the NEC would be to call your building officials office and ask.

AFCI's have been required in some form since the 99 Code cycle. The NEC is not retroactive so only new construction has been affected, for the most part. Some areas require them to be added if upgrades are made to the house.
Old 02-09-05, 09:37 AM
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Thanks for both of your answers, I have a call in locally about the NEC/Arc Faults. It is new construction just finished in December, so I thought it was wierd not having them on the bedroom circuits.
Old 02-09-05, 07:12 PM
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My home has AFCI's for all bedroom areas. According to my paperwork, electrical is to 2002 NEC code plus applicable florida additions.
Old 02-10-05, 10:33 AM
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New Jersey = Nope

My local inspector called back, Arc Faults are excepted by the New Jersey Code. He feels NJ is waiting for them to be required in every room and reasons just the bedroom is not enough.

He also thinks that they should be used in older houses, but doesn't feel strongly that a new house he has inspected needs them.
Old 02-10-05, 10:47 AM
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Be advised that Square D are recalling all AFCI breakers manufactured between 3/1/04 and 9/23/04.$file/afcirecallFrameset.htm
The quoted reason is that the arc-fault circuitry can fail, although they continue to function as an (expensive) overcurrent protection device.

I bought five of these last year at $40 (yes forty dollars) each for bedroom lighting, receptacle, and smoke detector circuits. Sure enough, one of them now fails its self test.

Square D AFCI breakers manufactured since 10/14/04 have a green push to test button, rather than a blue one as in the recall models.
Old 02-10-05, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Originally Posted by Beeek
He also thinks that they should be used in older houses, but doesn't feel strongly that a new house he has inspected needs them.
Does he realize that arc faults are just as easily caused by what is plugged into an outlet as the wiring that powers the outlet? A windowshaker with a ratty cord or an old electric blanket that has been folded and sat on too many times, etc., can cause an arc fault and his inspection won't catch them at all.

The 2002 NEC required AFCI on all dwelling bedroom branch circuits. If NJ doesn't require them, it doesn't seem like they have your best interests at heart. Like a friend told me one time, it is better to have it and never need it rather than to need it and never had it.
Old 02-11-05, 01:03 PM
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Buy some?

Thanks for the heads up on the recall, I happen to have a SqD QO breaker pannel, so the recall would be of interest.

I think I can be talked into 3 or 4 of them in the master bedroom area. The only thing I am worried about is will there be enough neutral wire to reach the breakers. My box is enterd from the top and my bus bars are across the top 1/3 of the box, so if the white wire now has to reach the breaker I may be in trouble. It may be too short.

Am I worried for nothing? A way around this?

Last edited by Beeek; 02-15-05 at 12:26 PM.
Old 02-13-05, 07:21 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 132
Arc Fault breakers are certianly a pain (Cutler Hammer's BR 15A Arc Faults in particular), but they are required in most places. I would put my smoke detector circuit on an Arc Fault as well; they have been cracking down on that in my area.

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