ipman: AFCIs Where?

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  #1  
Old 04-23-12, 07:32 PM
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ipman: AFCIs Where?

Hello. I found this thread while searching for recommended places to use AFCIs. I have read that you need it for bedrooms and living spaces. Bathrooms do not require it by code but is it beneficial to have it in bathrooms? Is there value in replacing all circuits in a panel with AFCI? I am assuming some things cannot have an AFCI such as a stove. What circuits should NOT have AFCIs? Thanks and sorry to threadjack.

Post moved from http://www.doityourself.com/forum/fi...i-circuit.html
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-23-12 at 08:12 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-23-12, 09:48 PM
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Rather you need to install AFCIís per NEC 2008, will depend on your jurisdiction. Is your area enforcing the AFCI rules? Our State did not adopt the new rules, but held on the requirement to have bedrooms protected. Some specific jurisdictions (example: cities) have adopted the 2008 AFCI rule fully--which requires All 120v, single phase, 15 and 20 amp branch circuits supplying outlets to be protected per section 210.12B.
 
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Old 04-24-12, 05:38 AM
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I am not sure if our area enforces it. I just want to use AFCIs especially since I am running new circuits to bathrooms/bedrooms and would like to put the money for AFCI instead of the regular breakers. Thank you.
 
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Old 04-24-12, 05:53 AM
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Living spaces tend to need AFCI, wet areas GFCI (kitchen, bathroom, garage and outside).
 
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Old 04-24-12, 08:08 AM
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Bathrooms do not require [AFCI protection] by code but is it beneficial to have it in bathrooms?
No.

Is there value in replacing all [circuit breakers] in a panel with AFCI?
No. mitch17's reply is a good summary.

This page has the clearest explanation of which areas do and don't require AFCI protection under the 2008 rules that I've seen - in part because they illustrated the requirements with a color-coded floor plan: See Arc Fault Breaker Safety.
 
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Old 04-24-12, 08:30 AM
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Nash posted a good link!! I have a questionóthis question seems to be in debate. Do AFCIís work. Meaning, have they been proven to work?
I am not sure if our area enforces it. I just want to use AFCIs especially since I am running new circuits to bathrooms/bedrooms and would like to put the money for AFCI instead of the regular breakers. Thank you
If you want to buy them, when you donít need them (For specific areas of a dwelling), then go for it!!! The question becomes. Why are some areas not adopting the rule. Many stories point toward big corporation pushing products to make money, and those jurisdictions that accepted the rule where paid off. Other stories are, the economy is too bad for people to have to spend money on expensive breakers. Hum, thatís interesting, life safety vs money. Who knows!!! All I know is, it is totally ridiculous for someone to spend $32-40 per breaker, and it hasnít been proven to work. But, if your area requires it, then you will have to pay-out the money any how. GFCIís are a different animal (serve a different and good purpose), and have been proven to work.
 
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Old 04-24-12, 04:26 PM
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All I know is, it is totally ridiculous for someone to spend $32-40 per breaker, and it hasnít been proven to work.
I saw a demonstration on arc fault circuit breakers at the Eaton Warrendale Center back in December and I can say definitively, yes, they do work.

Power Systems Experience Center

The question becomes. Why are some areas not adopting the rule. Many stories point toward big corporation pushing products to make money, and those jurisdictions that accepted the rule where paid off. Other stories are, the economy is too bad for people to have to spend money on expensive breakers. Hum, thatís interesting, life safety vs money. Who knows!!!
The HBA lobby is very strong. If you add all the changes in the 2008 NEC such as AFCI breakers, weather resistant GFIs, tamper resistant receptacles, etc., the added cost to a new home can be significant. In my area there were numerous amendments to the 2008 NEC when it was adopted in 2011, but I understand they will all go away when the 2011 NEC is adopted.
 
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Old 04-24-12, 06:12 PM
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Are AFCI's worth it? That depends who's money is being spent. The biggest pushers for AFCI's is insurance companies. They are the ones that are paying out when a fire happens, so they are the ones that want to protect themselves. (and you thought they were there to protect you! ) So the bottom line is they want us to spend a billion dollars, so they can save 100 million dollars.

Do they work? Yes. That is pretty much a given. How many fires have they prevented? That would be hard to say since they trip and you then have to figure out why. I think older homes would be better off using AFCI then newer homes. However, a case can be made for the use of extension cords in any home, which is one of the major causes of arcing and fires.
 
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Old 04-24-12, 07:17 PM
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I had an article that proved they didnít work. Wish I could find it. Iíll look for it.
 
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Old 04-24-12, 07:47 PM
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Note: Maybe things have improved, but here is a very interesting article. Get some coffee, as this is long reading
Note: Regardless, if your jurisdiction requires them (AFCI's), then obviously you should use them. I personally donít think it harms anyone to use them, but they (Big companies) should at least be able to prove they work as intended. Also, someone mention insurance companies. If the AFCIís are so great, why want the insurance companies offer a discount if you install them? Most insurance companies will offer discounts if you use other home protection products.

Here is the link:http://www.combinationafci.com/resou...ation_afci.pdf
 
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Old 04-24-12, 08:51 PM
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Do AFCIís work. Meaning, have they been proven to work?
Yes, as the article you found and the other posts here, show.

IIRC, there were some products that were less reliable than one might have wished, shall we say, back when the 2008 requirements were new. A confusing flood of products appeared. Some were underengineered. And some weren't even suitable for meeting the requirements. I'm thinking in particular of AFCI receptacles and AFCI cord-and-plug attached devices. Not only did these products not meet the code requirements, they often didn't work. Or worse, they worked sometimes, or tripped sometimes when no apparent cause could be found. I think those may be the source of the legends about AFCIs not working. That, and general resistance to an expensive new technology.

AFCI breakers, IMX, were generally reliable when they were introduced. Pricey, yes, but reliable. And they seem to have gotten more reliable since then. Prices have come down too, but there's still a lot of room for improvement there!
 
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Old 04-24-12, 08:55 PM
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Maybe things have improved, but here is a very interesting article. Get some coffee, as this is long reading
Yeah, it is. Sleep-inducing too. Thanks for the coffee suggestion! But it's a good article on arc fault protection, and a link I've marked.
 
  #13  
Old 04-25-12, 10:54 AM
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When I built my log house in 2008, only my bedroom circuits required AFCIs. Good thing - those critters were expensive.
 
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Old 04-25-12, 11:16 AM
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When I built my log house in 2008, only my bedroom circuits required AFCIs. Good thing - those critters were expensive.
Depending on your jurisdiction, itís the same here. Only the bedrooms. I would like to know why insurance companies arenít offering discounts if they are proven to work.
@ Nash,
Iím well aware of the older AFCIís nuisance tripping, and the problems they caused electrical contractors (call backs). To be honestóI want mention any names. A well known electrical instructor proved they didnít work, but seem to back away from pushing the issue for some strange reason (hint).
I guess we better get back to the topic.
If they arenít required (note: Most jurisdictions required them per NEC 2002), I say install them if you want. If they are required, then obviously you should install them per your jurisdictional adoption. If you want to install electrical equipment above code, then go for it!!!
 
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Old 04-25-12, 12:40 PM
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A well known electrical instructor proved they didnít work, but seem to back away from pushing the issue for some strange reason (hint).
Uh huh. Y'know, Sea, I love a good discussion of electrical theory as much as the next Sparky. But when it comes down to choosing a method and devices to achieve a given end, I'll take some solid lab testing over the theory any day, and real-world field experience over both of those. AFCIs have been in service for a decade now, and have proven both their reliability and their effectiveness, as far as I'm concerned.

And to get back to the topic...

If they arenít required (note: Most jurisdictions required them per NEC 2002), I say install them if you want. If they are required, then obviously you should install them per your jurisdictional adoption. If you want to install electrical equipment above code, then go for it!
I say install AFCIs on every branch circuit supplying any area where someone might sleep. That's the original intent, as I read it. And don't install them where that's not the case - basically wet areas and work areas where GFCI is the appropriate protection.
 
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Old 04-25-12, 12:46 PM
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Interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Note: We have many well rounded individuals that donít work in white coat labs, and many of them are us!!! The lab scientist, techs, and electrical engineers count on electricians (and the like) to give them feed back on their sometimes faulty products. So I agree, real life experience is solid in most cases, but not all. Real Life experiences can also be misleading. Specifically if electrical equipment is installed incorrectly. Or the product was always faulty, but wasnít discovered until real life presented a death. Sometimes it takes theory, and in-house homework to solve big corporate faults!!! The end result is team work on all ends, and if a large corporation isnít willing to hear the small voice, then they will fail, or buy their way out of it!!! Example: A person was killed from touching a metallic light pole, because for many years we had engineers believing a ground rod alone was sufficient enough. It took a small voice with an in house theory to figure it wasnít.
 

Last edited by SeaOn; 04-25-12 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 04-25-12, 01:08 PM
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Sea, I love a good discussion of electrical theory as much as the next Sparky
Who said I was a sparky

I never said I was
Iím just a thinker!! Keep the titles!!!
 
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Old 04-25-12, 02:11 PM
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Who said I was a sparky

I never said I was
Iím just a thinker!! Keep the titles!!!
Oh, my apologies, Sir!

The lab scientist, techs, and electrical engineers count on electricians (and the like) to give them feed back on their sometimes faulty products. So I agree, real life experience is solid in most cases, but not all... Sometimes it takes theory, and in-house homework to solve big corporate faults!!! The end result is team work on all ends,
I agree completely. An open, non-judgmental communication connection is the most critical and productive component of any endeavor. Sadly, it sometimes takes a tragedy to get common agreements re-examined. I'm just saying that it's real-life experience that ultimately matters most; that's where components and systems either function or fail.
 
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Old 04-25-12, 02:15 PM
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I agree with you!!
 
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Old 04-25-12, 03:38 PM
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ipman, We're on the 2008 NEC here in PA.

As for AFCI's, I'm not that big a fan of them, although with the quality of builder-grade wiring devices, we need them real bad.
 
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Old 04-29-12, 07:39 PM
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Justin,

My township, at least on their website, shows they are using 1999 NEC code. Perhaps they are using a newer code and just neglected to update their website.

I am excited to see all of this discussion regarding AFCIs. My one question that I still wonder about is this:

If AFCI's protect against wire arc'ing and catching on fire, what difference does it make if its in a bathroom or living space? The house is still going to burn down if things catch on fire. Of course if you had to choose, the living space would be first since you could be asleep there but why doesn't code require them everywhere if the AFCIs are supposed to reduce the risk of fire?
 
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Old 04-29-12, 08:42 PM
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AFCI's are phased in just GFCI's were back in the day. It starts out small and each code cycle it continues to expand. This also helps manufactures to catch up to the code.

It started in bedrooms because data showed that is where the highest rate of electrical fires started do to the use of extension cords. First code was 2005 for bedrooms. 2008 it was expanded to everything except kitchens and bathroom receptacles (does included lighting) 2011 was a smaller change that if you extended a circuit, you needed to protect that extension. I heard that 2014 will change that to if you change a circuit you must protect the entire circuit.
 
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Old 04-29-12, 09:16 PM
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If AFCI's protect against wire arc'ing and catching on fire, what difference does it make if its in a bathroom or living space? The house is still going to burn down if things catch on fire. Of course if you had to choose, the living space would be first since you could be asleep there but why doesn't code require them everywhere if the AFCIs are supposed to reduce the risk of fire?
As Tolyn pointed out, AFCI protection can be provided on non-receptacle circuits in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, etc.

AFCI for the circuit and GFCI for the same circuit or the devices on it do not yet play well together. I would stick with the distinctions laid out in 2008 NECģ AFCI Applications in the Home to avoid a playground fight.
 
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Old 04-29-12, 10:33 PM
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AFCI for the circuit and GFCI for the same circuit or the devices on it do not yet play well together.
Really????????????????????
 
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