AFCI & GFCI Dual Receptacles

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Old 01-31-18, 05:03 PM
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Question AFCI & GFCI Dual Receptacles

Just saw one of these in homedepot today and was wondering if there is a catch-22 with these and if not why would anyone want to use a regular GFCI instead of a GFCI & AFCI receptacle? The price difference is about $4 which is not a differentiating factor. Size wise I dont see them being different.
 
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Old 01-31-18, 05:32 PM
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I have used a few combo AFCI/GFCI devices and have had mixed results. Some worked fine while others has some nuance tripping issues.

The question of why use a GFCI alone falls to the NEC. Code says that a circuit must be protected the entire length of the circuit, with some exceptions, while GFCI protection is only required at certain receptacle locations. (bathrooms, kitchens, etc.) The exceptions are an AFCI device can be at the first outlet (not receptacle) as long as the length of wiring is 50' of less on a 15 amp circuit, or 70' on a 20 amp circuit. Of course all AFCI's and GFCI's are required to be readily accessible.

All that said I would rather use a combo GFCI/AFCI breaker over a device. They have been rock solid in performance, I know they will always be readily accessible in a panel, and they meet all code requirements.
 
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Old 01-31-18, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
I have used a few combo AFCI/GFCI devices and have had mixed results. Some worked fine while others has some nuance tripping issues.

The question of why use a GFCI alone falls to the NEC. Code says that a circuit must be protected the entire length of the circuit, with some exceptions, while GFCI protection is only required at certain receptacle locations. (bathrooms, kitchens, etc.) The exceptions are an AFCI device can be at the first outlet (not receptacle) as long as the length of wiring is 50' of less on a 15 amp circuit, or 70' on a 20 amp circuit. Of course all AFCI's and GFCI's are required to be readily accessible.

All that said I would rather use a combo GFCI/AFCI breaker over a device. They have been rock solid in performance, I know they will always be readily accessible in a panel, and they meet all code requirements.
Sorry can you explain the length requirements? I didnt know about these. Are these guidelines or requirements? What can happen if these are not followed?

The cable going to my garage and the light fixtures combined is probably over 100í long 12/2. This has GFCI outlets all over and I was planning on putting a afci and gfci combo outlet at the beginning whoch would mean 60-70í of cable right on the edge.

And whats the issue if the afci combo outlet is not the first outlet in series?
 
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Old 01-31-18, 06:11 PM
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There are 6 options of how to protect a branch circuit with an AFCI protection device/circuit breaker. (see 210.12(A)) The length exception says that the distance between the overcurrent protection device (fuse or breaker) to the first box containing the AFCI device can not be longer then 50' for a 15 amp circuit or 70' for a 20 amp circuit. That length must be continuous. Everything after the first outlet (not receptacle) must be AFCI protected.

What can happen if these are not followed?
It would be a code violation.

And whats the issue if the afci combo outlet is not the first outlet in series?
Then that section before the AFCI device would not be AFCI protected.
 
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Old 01-31-18, 06:25 PM
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Oh so its the distance BEFORE the AFCI outlet not after?
 
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Old 01-31-18, 06:46 PM
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Correct.
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Old 01-31-18, 07:02 PM
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Yes, the point is protecting (or not, in this case) the wiring inside of the wall before the first outlet. A fire is far less deadly when it's within 70' of a panel. The fire just knows how close it is to a panel, and it burns slower. Or something like that.
 
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Old 02-01-18, 04:12 AM
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Ok thanks guys.

I have a situation where in my basement I found an outlet that is at the beginning of a massive series of other outlets and junction boxes. This circuit covers the garage (5 double outlets all around, 8 light fixtures and a switch) as well as the dryer in the laundry room.

However this outlet is connected to a junction box so the line coming in is split. What I want to do is to eliminate this junction box and connect the entire Line going into the garage to the load of an AFCI/GFCI outlet I will place here.

Please note that everything in the garage already has its own GFCI receptacle and I m doing this as an additional peace of mind for protecting against arcs etc.

Question is, is it okay for me to eliminate that junction box in that manner and connect it to the receptacle?
 
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Old 02-01-18, 04:48 AM
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You canít have 2 GFCIís on the same circuit if that's what you are planning
Geo
 
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Old 02-01-18, 05:00 AM
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Uh? Cant or shouldnt because its waste of money?

I have had multiple of them in my circuits for a while now. First of all while they are all in the same circuit they are not in series due to junction boxes. Only 2 outlets I did out of 10 (where each outlet is double outlet so its 20 total, 10 gfci and 10 standard) could be the ďloadĒ of the other ones but I on purposedly did not wire them as such (so in other words the load of the gfci is connected to the non gfci in that box right next to it but the load of that next outlet is not connected to anything). Why I did that is because I have heavy equipment I run on these (compressor, car lift, vacuum cleaner, drills) and its inconvenience for me to go and figure out which one trips. Its an extra $20 and i m going to live here well for a long time so that extra $20 is nothing.

That being said when I installed all those outlets in the garage I didnt know about this one particular one I am planning to install the gfci/afci.

Going back to my question, why cant I have more than one of them?
 
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Old 02-01-18, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Geochurchi View Post
You canít have 2 GFCIís on the same circuit if that's what you are planning
Geo
You can have more than one GFCI receptacle on a circuit if they are all wired just to the line side. You shouldn't wire a GFCI receptacle off the load side of another GFCI receptacle.
 
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Old 02-01-18, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by pattenp View Post
You can have more than one GFCI receptacle on a circuit if they are all wired just to the line side. You shouldn't wire a GFCI receptacle off the load side of another GFCI receptacle.
Please help me out with my objective then:

- I have a pretty massive circuit that is 98% GFCI protected
- I wasnt aware up until 2 days ago they made an arc protection receptacle
- At the beginning of this massive circuit there lies one old outlet I was going to add a regular GFCI and be done with it.
- Now I want to use an AFCI/GFCI there to not only add GFCI protection to that outlet but arc protection to my entire circuit.

Every single outlet in this circuit is wired in “parallel”. No gfci trips another gfci. I have wired them on purpose because its a garage and i thought they might trip a lot due to the nature of tools/etc and didnt want to guess.

If I simply put this AFCI/GFCI on that place and connect the load to the main line wire feeding everything downstream what will happen is everytime one of the downstream outlets trip, this one will trip as well. I understand that. But I will have ARC protection on the entire circuit AND gfci on this one outlet and thats what I want. There is no other way I can do this.

What is the problem with this besides two outlets tripping instead of one and is that such a bad thing?

If I used just and AFCI outlet in that outlet then that outlet wouldnt have any GFCI protection.

Its a dilemma.

And lastly the entire circuit has combined 100+ ft of wire (now remember a lot of this is in parallel with junction boxes and only one thing at a time is used). But due to the exposed wires, I think having arc protection is a good thing to have.
 
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Old 02-01-18, 08:42 AM
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I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around exactly what you have existing. I haven't installed any ARC/GFCI outlets and adding one down stream from another GFCI off the circuit line side should not be a problem but will only provide Arcfault protection at that point. The proper way is to have the Arc/GFCI outlet protecting the whole circuit as being the first outlet in the circuit with no other GFCI fed from the load side of the Arc/GFCI outlet. If you have multiple GFCI outlets on the circuit then the best thing to do is to use an Arcfault breaker to protect the whole circuit and not use an Arc/GFCI outlet in the mix with other GFCI outlets.

Edit: I should say to add other GFCI outlets downstream from the Arc/GFCI outlet they need to be wired to the line side from the Arc/GFCI outlet but doing so doesn't provide Arc protection to those GFCI outlets. I believe you have to come off the load side to provide Arc protection downstream and that's where the rub comes is additional GFCI outlets are not to be wired to the load side of another GFCI outlet. I think I may be making this more confusing.
 
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Old 02-01-18, 08:56 AM
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I never changed a breaker before and I dont know how to add an Arc fault breaker as I see it has some white wire hanging out of it. I habe an old house and crowded breaker box.

What I m trying to do is simple:

I have a whole bunch of outlets and light fixtures in a circuit that are all PARALLEL wired. Everything is GFCI protected. I have 1 single outlet at the beginning of this circuit (its literally 4’ from the breaker box) that I want to install AFCI/GFCI outlet to provide a gfci protection to that outlet AND afci protection to the entire circuit.

So i will have this whole bunch of stuff connected to the load terminal of this one outlet at the beginning. Everything downstream is parallel. Every box with gfci is pigtailed to the line and load of gfci doesnt connect to anything outside of that box.

So imagine this entire circuit being connected to the load of this first outlet.

I read a lot of conflicting info about not wiring gfci outlets in series where one’s load feeds other one’s line. I see some people saying its not good to do that because it will be annoying and some make it sound like its against the code and/or dangerous. I dont understand how the latter is possible.
 
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Old 02-01-18, 10:13 AM
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I see some people saying its not good to do that because it will be annoying and some make it sound like its against the code and/or dangerous. I dont understand how the latter is possible.
It's not against code, nor is it dangerous. The only problem is that the multiple GFCIs can cause some annoyance trips. I've seen some things like reseting one causes the other to trip which requires a "start up sequence" should you ever have a trip.
 
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Old 02-01-18, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
It's not against code, nor is it dangerous. The only problem is that the multiple GFCIs can cause some annoyance trips. I've seen some things like reseting one causes the other to trip which requires a "start up sequence" should you ever have a trip.
For someone who has never changed a breaker, would you say adding an AHCI breaker is a good idea or not? I m saying this because it will probably involve making pig tails in a crowded old breaker box as the existing neutral from the bar wont reach to the breaker and the pigtail on the breaker back to the bar. I just dont know the way to navigate around all those wires there and safely tuck them aside. It seems like an ahci breaker is actually what I need here but i m afraid to open the box.
 
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Old 02-01-18, 01:38 PM
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Another possibility would be to install an outlet box next to the panel and bring the branch circuit feed from the panel into it and install a AFCI receptacle in that box to feed the existing circuit , no need to replace the breaker in the panel as long as it is the right size for the circuit.
Just a thought
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Old 02-01-18, 01:57 PM
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But that is what I have been saying I want to do. How is what you are saying different than what I have been asking about?
 
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Old 02-01-18, 02:31 PM
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I wouldn't even mess with the arcfault protection. Why do you want it?
 
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Old 02-01-18, 03:21 PM
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To make sure we are on the same sheet of music, you can use the AFCI/GFCI outlet as the first outlet on the circuit and wire all the other downstream outlets/lights off of the load side of the AFCI/GFCI outlet and every thing will be AFCI and GFCI protected. The thing is all the downstream outlets need to be standard outlets. This means if there is an arc or ground fault on the circuit at any point the AFCI/GFCI outlet will kill the entire circuit. If your intent is to have other GFCI outlets in the circuit for convenience so that the first GFCI doesn't kill the entire circuit on a ground fault then you need to use a AFCI breaker and wire the GFCI outlets all on the line side only.
 
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Old 02-01-18, 04:46 PM
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No difference, as long as the distance to that receptacle is there less or equal to the code requirement.
Geo
 
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Old 02-01-18, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by pattenp View Post
To make sure we are on the same sheet of music, you can use the AFCI/GFCI outlet as the first outlet on the circuit and wire all the other downstream outlets/lights off of the load side of the AFCI/GFCI outlet and every thing will be AFCI and GFCI protected. The thing is all the downstream outlets need to be standard outlets. This means if there is an arc or ground fault on the circuit at any point the AFCI/GFCI outlet will kill the entire circuit. If your intent is to have other GFCI outlets in the circuit for convenience so that the first GFCI doesn't kill the entire circuit on a ground fault then you need to use a AFCI breaker and wire the GFCI outlets all on the line side only.
I understand the issue with double tripping. But imagine this:

- I have 15 outlets here and 8 light fixtures. If all were wired in series in front of 1 GFCI, I would go absolutely crazy trying to find out which outlet/wire is issue.

Vs.

- Now when there is an issue only 2 outlets will trip. Once I deset the main outlet, I will know exactly where the problem is. Its not like all 7 of my GFCI outlets will trip. Only one will and the entry outlet.

I cant get the arc breaker there simply because half of my wiring is 70 years old cloth wire thats crumbling. I dont wsnt to touch any of those wires in a breaker box with over 25 circuit breakers inside.
 
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Old 02-02-18, 06:21 PM
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The exceptions are an AFCI device can be at the first outlet (not receptacle) as long as the length of wiring is 50' of less on a 15 amp circuit, or 70' on a 20 amp circuit.

What version of the code is this in? It seems to me, by memory, that when AFCI receptacles first came out that the circuit between the breaker and the AFCI receptacle had to either be in conduit or be installed using MC cable. I believe the underlying intention was that either the entire circuit had to be protected or the branch feeder had to be enclosed in such a manner that an arcing fault could not occur.
 
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