AFCI lead too short

Reply

  #41  
Old 03-23-17, 05:58 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 605
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
UPDATE:

3 more electricians

One doesn't like Murray panels and says SquareD is the choice. The other two like Murray.

One said AFCI's are only required on lighting circuits and not needed above 15A. Another said bathrooms and kitchens are exempt.

All say that because the panel is not a subpanel, neutrals and grounds do not have to be separated.

All say replace the panel, the cable from the service, and the meter pan.

All said SE cable or pipe is my choice, but two favored the pipe.

One said the weather guard(???) at the top of the SE cable must be above the eye hook attaching the service to the house.

Two said that the hot and cold hot water pipes need to be grounded too.

Two said that the aluminum ground cable must be updated to copper.

Two said that two new ground rods need to be installed in the ground.

Definitely, won't hire the first electrician, waiting to see estimates from the last three.


What is the 2014 code about AFCI's? What circuits do or do not need them?

Thanks guys!
 
  #42  
Old 03-23-17, 06:08 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,218
Received 103 Votes on 89 Posts
Under the 2014 most 120 circuits require afci protection. There is no 15 amp limit.
 
  #43  
Old 03-23-17, 06:10 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,218
Received 103 Votes on 89 Posts
Neutrals and grounds do not need to be separated in a service panel. Neutrals cannot be installed on a ground bar like in you current panel.
 
  #44  
Old 03-23-17, 06:55 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 391
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
One doesn't like Murray panels and says SquareD is the choice. The other two like Murray.
The SquareD fan, unless he is quoting you for a QO panel (basically the Cadillac), is just either a fanboy or gets a break on Homeline ("contractor grade") panels. Murray is the "contractor grade" Siemens panels. Homeline and Murray are pretty much the same. QO has higher end features like copper bus bars, trip flag indicators, and single handle 2 pole breakers..

One said AFCI's are only required on lighting circuits and not needed above 15A. Another said bathrooms and kitchens are exempt.
Uhrrrr, I think they all need to brush up on whatever code cycle your AHJ is using. (Did you ever find out which one?)

All say that because the panel is not a subpanel, neutrals and grounds do not have to be separated.
Once again, if there is no disconnect/main upstream of the panel, then that is correct. But the neutrals can not be put on the ground bar - even though they are connected together. Period. The ground bar is not listed to be used as an extension of the neutral bus. It is only listed for use as a ground.

All say replace the panel, the cable from the service, and the meter pan.
Good.

All said SE cable or pipe is my choice, but two favored the pipe.
NEC calls for it to be in pipe in areas subject to damage. Common sense says that anything in human or animal reach from ground level falls into that category. NEC does not specify, but many AHJs do. Maybe yours doesn't. I wouldn't give you the choice. We're talking about $25 worth of PVC on a $3000 job (more or less, depending on the number of AFCIs required).

One said the weather guard(???) at the top of the SE cable must be above the eye hook attaching the service to the house.
Weatherhead. Correct. The new mast may have to extend above the roofline, depending on the height of the dip in the drop line. If it can be attached lower than it currently is without the lines getting below your POCO's minimum, then it can stop at the roofline. The current eye hook does not have to be used, the drop can alternatively be attached to the mast.

Two said that the hot and cold hot water pipes need to be grounded too.
Correct. The cold water line is bonded to the panel, jumping the meter. Then there is a jumper that will have to be clamped at the input and output of your water heater.

Two said that the aluminum ground cable must be updated to copper.
Correct. Aluminum can not be in contact with earth.

Two said that two new ground rods need to be installed in the ground.
Correct. They need to be at least 6' apart.

What is the 2014 code about AFCI's? What circuits do or do not need them?
Are you asking because that's the latest cycle? Or because that's what your AHJ is using?
 
  #45  
Old 03-25-17, 07:04 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 605
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Great info taz420 - thank you again.


I don't know about the code cycle officially - there's some politics right now w/reaching out to the inspector.

I asked about AFCI requirements because no electrician seems to agree on it, so assuming the 2014 code, I wanted to know what is code. (I have a 2011 code book).

It was a QO panel that electrician was talking about, saying the breakers were better and that the box allowed more internal space for wiring.

How much would a comparable 40 slot QO panel cost approx?
 

Last edited by syakoban; 03-25-17 at 07:25 AM.
  #46  
Old 03-25-17, 10:14 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 391
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If your city has a website with a Codes section or has its ordinances up on Municode, you can find out there. But it is important to find out, because each code cycle starting with 2005 added more and more circuits requiring AFCI.. As of NEC2014, pretty much every single 120V circuit requires one (at $30-50 apiece). Unlike GFCIs, AFCIs have no proven track record of improving safety or reducing the number of fires. In fact, most electrical fires are caused by conditions that would NOT trip an AFCI. The only thing they have a proven track record of is nuisance tripping. IMO they are pointless, and nothing more than a legislated sales booster for the panel manufacturers.

Find out what cycle you need to follow, and don't install any more of them than you need to. They are a waste of money.

If he's quoting QO, that will justify a bit higher quote than the Murray. The QO panel and breakers cost about twice what contractor grade costs but as I said, it is the Cadillac of panels. QO also has a new feature called "Plug On Neutral".. It's a neutral stab bar that allows AFCIs to plug right in without a neutral pigtail. You can expect a 40 circuit panel to run about $250-300. Single pole breakers are about $10-15 apiece, AFCIs $40-50 apiece.
 

Last edited by taz420; 03-25-17 at 10:40 AM.
  #47  
Old 03-25-17, 11:36 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 605
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks taz420.

The town barely has a web site - nothing there. Don't see how to use Municode.

The 40 slot QO panel I saw was $163 and the Murray $129. I imagine the breakers would add about $200 over Murray. Trying to decide if it's worth it.
 
  #48  
Old 03-25-17, 12:20 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,754
Received 97 Votes on 87 Posts
How many emergency calls have you had in the middle of the night when a prankster decided to just turn off the power just for a few kicks?


The same amount as for "pranksters" pulling the meter for kicks.
You obviously never had teenage girls living in your house, I've had more than a few of those calls. I don't believe I have even heard of a prankster pulling a meter, but shutting off a main breaker, yes, it happens.
 
  #49  
Old 03-25-17, 03:05 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 391
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I don't believe I have even heard of a prankster pulling a meter
Exactly. The answer was none. The issue is non-existent. And if its such a concern, there is a padlock hasp on every single one of them.

Just give it up.
 
  #50  
Old 03-25-17, 03:15 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
In my area having outside disconnects/main circuit breakers is all but unheard of. The last time I saw an outside disconnect must have been forty plus years ago on a house with no more than a 60 ampere service. The meter did not have a socket, just the wires entering the base of the meter.
 
  #51  
Old 03-25-17, 03:24 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 391
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The town barely has a web site - nothing there. Don't see how to use Municode.
https://www.municode.com/library/nj

See if your city is listed there. NJ seems to have only a few online at this point.

The 40 slot QO panel I saw was $163 and the Murray $129. I imagine the breakers would add about $200 over Murray. Trying to decide if it's worth it.
The electrician is going to charge more than you'll find it in home depot. QO is definitely a better panel, but ultimately it's up to you.
 
  #52  
Old 03-25-17, 04:32 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 605
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Not listed on Municode - no surprise.
 
  #53  
Old 04-01-17, 11:40 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 605
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
OK - been through the litany of electricians, from the ones that waste my time coming out and then disappearing w/o a quote to a couple I would pick to do the job. However, very little agreement amongst them as to what is code and what isn't, what grounding requirements are, what needs AFCI's, etc. I thought there is only one code (being sarcastic) and at least a couple work in the town and know the inspector, so they must know the code cycle here.

My top contender won't tell me what panel he'll use (apparently based on supply house stock) but says that you do not have to have the same brand breakers as the panel, so he might get a GE panel and use my Murray AFCI's. That sounds like a concern. Thoughts please.

He also says the aluminum ground (to water meter) is OK because it's over sized and doesn't need to be changed to copper. Others, say it must be copper. One said it's OK because it's #2 aluminum and not #4 copper. Thoughts?

Thanks guys.
 

Last edited by syakoban; 04-01-17 at 12:10 PM.
  #54  
Old 04-01-17, 12:41 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,218
Received 103 Votes on 89 Posts
The breakers need to be listed for use in the panel. The simple thing is to use the same brand.

Aluminum cannot connect within 18 inches of the earth.
 
  #55  
Old 04-01-17, 01:45 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 605
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Aluminum cannot connect within 18 inches of the earth.
First, the meter is in the basement and the ground is on the copper pipe supplying the meter.
  1. Are you saying the aluminum needs to be 18 inches out from the wall?
  2. If so, is #2 aluminum acceptable for 200A service?
 
  #56  
Old 04-01-17, 02:23 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 391
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The water pipe can't be your only ground, you must have a ground rod as well. Since the top of the rod must be below grade, you can't use aluminum wire.
 
  #57  
Old 04-01-17, 05:40 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 605
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I never said the water pipe would be the only ground. Most have talked about two ground rods outside (one now) in addition to the water pipe and bonding the pipes on the water heater (which are not now).

So back to my question: Is #2 aluminum acceptable for 200A service?
 
  #58  
Old 04-01-17, 06:11 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
#4 aluminum or larger is adequate if you do not come within 18" of earth so it may work for water pipes but ground rods are driven flush with the ground so you need #6 copper or larger.
 
  #59  
Old 04-01-17, 06:15 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 391
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If it goes to the water pipe first, I suppose, but the one going to the ground rod MUST be copper. It's not going to be a huge difference in price, so I don't understand the protest.

If they are installing two rods outside, the GEC will be installed with the wire looped through the clamps unbroken. The ground to the water pipe is simply a safety bond at this point, and is NOT required to be continuous - although depending on the location of the rods and the water entrance it could be easier to do it that way.
 
  #60  
Old 04-01-17, 10:52 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,218
Received 103 Votes on 89 Posts
The conductor to the water is primary and needs to be continous. The rods are the supplemental electrodes.

The conductor only needs to be continous to the first rod.


It is easier to use two conductors , one to the rod and the other to the water ground.
 
  #61  
Old 04-02-17, 10:54 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 605
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The conductor to the water is primary and needs to be continous. The rods are the supplemental electrodes.
That's exactly what the last electrician said.

No one has said what material would be used outside so I assumed copper.

The disagreement was over leaving the existing 45 feet of not easily accessible water pipe ground or running new wire.
 
  #62  
Old 04-04-17, 08:58 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,754
Received 97 Votes on 87 Posts
So back to my question: Is #2 aluminum acceptable for 200A service?
For the indoor water service either #4 copper or #2 aluminum is acceptable by NEC. Usually a continuous length is used and jumpered around the meter and pressure reducing valve if you have one. #6 copper to the ground rods is fine.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: