AFCI- True Story

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Old 02-16-05, 08:16 AM
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AFCI- True Story

Hey Guys,

I was called our last night on a service call. Now, as you can guess the topic of this is AFCI and I have to tell you I was a skeptic of them back in 1999 when I first saw the code mention them for Jan 2002 and so I remained that way along with MANY high profile electrical experts.....

However, as I went on and started to research them more and more I become more educated on them and now speak about them alot in local code classes I teach.....

Well anyway I was called our last night to a OLD house probably circa 1930 probably but did have a home owner over the years who tried to make upgrades and so on.....at least that is what I could figure by the 3 different types of wiring material in the house and looks of the system.

She said she has been smelling smoke for the past 3 weeks...and could not figure it out.....so she figured she better call someone and I got the call....

I went to the house and it did not take me 2 minutes to pin point it...a floor recep was causing the problem....now folks it had melted the extention cord she had in it ( one clue...lol ) and the receptable has melted on one side but guess what.....still no breaker tripped...yes it had a addition added and was on circuit breaker....but this part of the house was still old......

After looking into it more it was a ARC that had been heating up...in fact when I pulled her cord out if it the end was "RED" as a fire engine and was clearly a ARC FAULT issue.........and would have burnt this ladies house down I have NO doubt in it since the person who installed it had carpet down in it and so on...it was a mess.......

Anyway with a ARC fault it will not trip the breaker but the arc will heat up and cause EXACTLY what I found......

So I pulled a AFCI out of my truck...and happen to be a Square D panel so I put it in the circuit and wanted to see what would happen......

Sure enough.........I put it in....plugged in the extention cord again which did not trip on the standard breaker...sure enough in about 15 minutes the AFCI tripped..........not a scientific test but did work.......

I have no doubt this ladies house would have burnt down....I believe it in my heart and soul.....so I replaced the Box, Ran a new line to it because it would so happen that this lady had 2 TV's, DVD Player, Satellite Receiver, a lamp all in the same unit..........and keep in mind most old homes might have 2-3 circuits if that many for the older portion....anyway we re-did it all ( at 8:00PM last night ) and learned a valuable lesson to ME anyway...

AFCI's can't hurt....and I wish MORE people would consider them in a older home versus just thinking about them in new homes per the code....I can see these things JUST MAY save lives....and I have seen it first hand last night versus just the theory of them working....

Just figured you all would like that story ! I am not promoting them or selling them or actually care other than I think they are worth the investment and I will do more in old homes I question the wiring on.
 
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Old 02-16-05, 11:22 AM
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lol at that story EM
 
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Old 02-16-05, 11:24 AM
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considering the SHAPE of the old house and it's wiring ( 5 generations of home owners slapping new wiring in it at random ).....would have been better off to BURN and take insurance claim....the house was a mess, I found so many issues but i was not called out for that...just to solve this problem so I left it at that....
 

Last edited by ElectricalMan; 02-16-05 at 01:25 PM.
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