Basement Subpanel

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  #1  
Old 04-15-06, 06:55 AM
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Question Basement Subpanel

Hello Folks, I'll be putting in a subpanel in the basement for a family room, bedroom, bathroom (6 or so circuits) . My question is if I use an AFI as the feeding breaker will that protect the entire panel? Or are these for branch use only?
I assume the outlet GFI's will work as usual for the bathroom if I can do this?
 
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Old 04-15-06, 08:07 AM
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You're gonna feed a sub panel with an AFCI breaker? What size?
 
  #3  
Old 04-15-06, 09:05 AM
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I wouldn't do that. Just use the AFCI on the bedroom circuit where it is required. You don't want the whole basement going out for an AFCI trip.
 
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Old 04-15-06, 08:47 PM
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The size would be 50 or 60 amp double pole. Yes it's very expensive but may be cost effective if it protects the whole subpanel. I guess it would be hard to identify the arced circiut if one did trip since the whole panel would go. But I could deal with that as long as I know ithat it's OK to do. I kind of like the idea of the whole basement being covered especially with the bedroom. Or is it overkill?
 
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Old 04-15-06, 08:54 PM
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> it's very expensive but may be cost effective

Unless it is unreliable.

> I kind of like the idea of the whole basement being covered especially with the bedroom.

If your AFCI doesn't include GFCI, someday it will.
This can bring about some reliabity problems, say, for refrigeration equipment or sump pumps.

If there is a fault, do you really want to have everything go dead?
How will you find the breaker panel in the dark to start to isolate the bad circuit?
 
  #6  
Old 04-16-06, 09:33 AM
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Just use AFCI breakers for the individual home runs in the basement. .

Then if you have one trip, its only one, and not the whole basement. Sometimes Afci breakers are time consuming to trouble shoot, and you may have a dark basment for a long time till you trouble shoot it and remedy the problem. Do they even make anything but 20 amp AFCI Breakers?

As someone else mentioned, keep motors, such as freezers and fridges off the afci circuits.

BTW doesnt your sub feeder panel neutral need to be conected to the neutral bar at the mdp to be properly wired? It does here, and that would eliminate the use of the afci breaker for subpanel feeder use.
 
  #7  
Old 04-16-06, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tnecontractor
BTW doesnt your sub feeder panel neutral need to be conected to the neutral bar at the mdp to be properly wired? It does here, and that would eliminate the use of the afci breaker for subpanel feeder use.
This statement does not make sense. Nothing, except common sense, precludes the use of an AFCI to feed the sub panel.

Use AFCI breakers to protect the bedroom circuits. Do not use one to protect the entire basement sub panel.
 
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Old 04-16-06, 08:05 PM
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Since you have to connect the branch circuit neutral to the afci, then it wouldnt technically be connected to the neutral bar. BTW I have never seen a 2 pole afci breaker. Do they make one?

Sorry my statement didnt make sense, I was just thinking about the nit pickiing details of NEC.
 
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Old 04-16-06, 08:17 PM
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Sub panels for hot tubs are routinely fed with GFCI breakers all the time. The GFCI breaker has the same issue, the neutral wire from the panel connects to the breaker, and then the breaker neutral wire connects to the panel neutral buss.

An AFCI breaker would be installed the same way, but again, I advise against it.
 
  #10  
Old 04-16-06, 08:36 PM
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NEC contradiction?

Originally Posted by tnecontractor
Since you have to connect the branch circuit neutral to the afci, then it wouldnt technically be connected to the neutral bar.
I still don't understand what you are asking. Technically, it is connected, because it is electrically connected.


An AFCI/GFCI works in the main panel or to backfeed a subpanel.

Either way, the three feeder wires (two hots and one neutral) hook to the breaker.

The breaker's white pigtail always lands on the neutral bus of the panel.


> BTW I have never seen a 2 pole afci breaker. Do they make one?

Yes, for some breaker styles. Are they expensive? Yes.


> I was just thinking about the nitpicking details of NEC.
A feeder in this regard is no different than any other branch circuit with a neutral.
An AFCI/GFCI does not open the neutral.

True, it doesn't land directly on the neutral bar.
But I don't see where the NEC requires such a thing or even suggests it.
I never saw the issue raised anywhere before and don't see how it could be a real issue.

So may I ask which article and paragraph you had in mind?
 
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