AFCI and common ground/neutral

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  #1  
Old 06-18-06, 06:52 AM
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Unhappy AFCI and common ground/neutral

I have a little bit of a problem, when I ran my wires and had my rough-in inspection everything was fine. NOW, as of June 1st, NY state requires AFCI in all bedrooms and since I haven't had my FINAL inspection I now fall under the NEW code. The problem is that I ran some of the circuits using 12/3 and intended to share the neutral/white wire, unfortunately AFCIs don't seem to LIKE that very much!

Is there any way to satisfy these feisty devices with my current wiring or an I looking at tearing out my freshly-installed (and spackled and primed and painted) sheetrock?

Thanks for your help!

Greg
 
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  #2  
Old 06-18-06, 07:16 AM
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Are you sure that the new requirements apply? At least here what matters is the code enforced when the permit was drawn, not finaled.
 
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Old 06-18-06, 07:26 AM
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The problem that you have is that AFCI systems include a ground fault detection component, which will trip if there is any difference in current flow between the hot and the neutral. Of course, with a shared neutral circuit there will almost always be a difference between the hot going out and the neutral return.

The only solution if you want to use a multi-wire circuit and are required to use an AFCI is to use a _two pole_ AFCI. This sort of breaker will look at the current flowing on both hots and the shared neutral, and will not trip as long as the current flowing out on any one wire is balanced by current flowing back in on any of the other two wires. It will trip if current goes anyplace else, exactly what you want.

The problem is that two pole AFCI devices are rather expensive, and not available for all panels.

Here is a link to a GE product that would work if you had a GE panel, so that you can see what sort of breaker I am talking about: http://www.geindustrial.com/publibra.../DEH-40456.pdf

-Jon
 
  #4  
Old 06-18-06, 07:26 AM
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I haven't spoken to Code Enforcement yet as I just discovered the problem last night. However in speaking to the Electrical Inspector several weeks ago (before June 1st), he said that because the FINAL inspection wasn't completed before June 1st the the new rules would apply

I'll call them both on Monday and check.
 
  #5  
Old 06-18-06, 07:29 AM
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Thanks Jon. I was wondering if that would work for me. I work at an electrical supply house (I'm the computer guy) so at least I can get the stuff at a more reasonable price than full retail!

Hopefully Code Enforcement will tell me that I'm grandfathered...
 
  #6  
Old 06-18-06, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by greg_diamond
he said that because the FINAL inspection wasn't completed before June 1st the the new rules would apply
This is absolutely not true. How are we to know what the new codes will be and when they will go into effect? ESPECIALLY in NYS.
Permits are good for a year.

They CANNOT enforce retroactive codes.


Originally Posted by greg_diamond
NOW, as of June 1st, NY state requires AFCI in all bedrooms
Do you have this in writing?
They have been talking about this for months and even years. I have heard no mention to the effect that the new NYSRBC (NY State Residential Buliding Code, which we follow for residential. NOT the NEC.) has been released.
 
  #7  
Old 06-18-06, 07:41 AM
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Actually, as I'm thinking about it, the Electrical Inspector said he would check and get back to me and he never got back to me. I will DEFINITELY call him on Monday morning!

My permit is good until November...
 
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Old 06-18-06, 07:51 AM
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What area are you in?
 
  #9  
Old 06-18-06, 08:25 AM
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Upstate NY (West Oneonta)
 
  #10  
Old 06-18-06, 09:46 AM
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I'm in the Hudson Valley.
I though maybe it was a LI/NYC thing.
 
  #11  
Old 06-18-06, 01:04 PM
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I agree with the previous posters. I has always been code in force as of the permit date.
 
  #12  
Old 06-18-06, 06:17 PM
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Thanks to all! I will definitely pursue the grandfather angle...
 
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