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Old 02-10-2010, 04:20 PM   #1
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AFCI circuit breaker


i wanted to install afci breakers in my box. its an existing GE box and i want to take out the regular breakers and install the GE afci for more safety.
is this worth doing?
what rooms are the best to use the afci?
should i just do the whole house?
afci white pigtail goes to the neutral bus bar and the wire that went into the old breaker hooks onto the afci breaker?
any tips hints or suggestions welcome.

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Old 02-10-2010, 04:44 PM   #2
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AFCI circuit breaker


The new code requires AFCI in all living spaces. The black and white from the circuit both hook into the breaker, then the white pigtail goes into the neutral bus.

I am sure someone can post the picture of the house floorplan that shows which rooms require afci according to nec 2008.

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Old 02-10-2010, 04:48 PM   #3
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AFCI circuit breaker


Quote:
Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
The new code requires AFCI in all living spaces. The black and white from the circuit both hook into the breaker, then the white pigtail goes into the neutral bus.

I am sure someone can post the picture of the house floorplan that shows which rooms require afci according to nec 2008.
It was posted recently. A little research will find it.!
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:18 PM   #4
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AFCI circuit breaker


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Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
The new code requires AFCI in all living spaces. The black and white from the circuit both hook into the breaker, then the white pigtail goes into the neutral bus.

I am sure someone can post the picture of the house floorplan that shows which rooms require afci according to nec 2008.
NEC 2008 210.12(B)
"All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreationrooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type, installed to provide protection of the branch circuit."
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:23 PM   #5
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AFCI circuit breaker


Quote:
Originally Posted by spark plug View Post
It was posted recently. A little research will find it.!
Ok ok - i'll stop being lazy :P


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Old 02-10-2010, 05:42 PM   #6
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AFCI circuit breaker


i was just looking for that but hadnt found it yet, thanks for posting the drawing. i did find an old debate about afci's about wheather a switch in a bedroom controlling a light outside needed a afci, i got so confused over there, lol.
now on my 15 amp bedroom circuit there are outlets.....and there are ceiling lights controlled by a sitch, when i install the afci in the box it will protect the light and switch also??
im not a newb but the wording throws me off a little bit and after reading that other posting i might need a break first.
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:46 PM   #7
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AFCI circuit breaker


Yes, the afci protects every wire on the circuit, including all switches, outlets and lights.

Keep in mind that any tool with an electric motor can lead to false tripping (or so I have heard, i don't have any AFCIs in my house yet).
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:07 PM   #8
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AFCI circuit breaker


cool, thanks for the help. i saw that to about the motors falsely tripping the afci's. i do most of my tool work in the unfinished basement so that shouldnt be a problem. im gonna try just one afci for the bedrooms and see how it works, then i will do the other 3 or 4.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:08 PM   #9
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AFCI circuit breaker


Nice. I have been thinking about doing it on mine for quite some time now. Let us know how you make out
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:00 PM   #10
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AFCI circuit breaker


Is it likely that a motor in a vacumn cleaner, which is being used to clean carpeted areas in AFCI breaker, protection required rooms, could cause false trips in the AFCI breaker on the circuit, to which, that load plugs into.

Also is the AFCI breaker false trips, that is reported to be caused by motorized appliances, one of the reasons that some of the rooms displayed above as being exempt from the AFCI protection requirement, or is it simply that those rooms' exemption status (the Bath, kitchen, Laundry, Garage) are due to current technology not being developed as of 2008, where GFCI outlets and AFCI breakers or GFCI breaker and AFCI breakers affecting the same circuits, not to have a combination compatiblity?

If that non-compatability issue still existed in 2008, has technolgy improved by early 2010 in developing compatablity between combination GFCI and AFCI, breaker and outlets on the same circuit?

Last edited by katrina1; 02-11-2010 at 01:21 PM. Reason: better wording of questions
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:32 PM   #11
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AFCI circuit breaker


I recently read that surge protector can also cause false trips in the ACFI breaker. The theory goes that when the surge protector diverts a high voltage transient (i.e. surge) to ground, the ACFI thinks that's an arc fault and trip.
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:36 PM   #12
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AFCI circuit breaker


I wonder, if in the event of a Power surge entering the panel, if the AFCI breaker would be tripped off in time to keep all the surge of extra electricity from passing through to the outlet and on into the surge protector?

If so that seems to be a good thing, which might prevent damage to the house wires, outlet, and maybe even keep the surge protector from receivng the full blast of the surge that otherwise would require a subsiquent repurchase for a new surge protector?

Clearly: I need a lot more information concerning how the technoligy of today's manufactured AfCI breakers actually work.

Last edited by katrina1; 02-11-2010 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:15 PM   #13
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AFCI circuit breaker


They do make combo AFCI/GFCI breakers, not that common yet
A GFCI outlet can be installed on a circuit protected by an AFCI breaker
The technologies are compatible
An AFCI protects against arc fault, it does not provide surge suppression as far as I know
The surge entering the panel would not be detected by the AFCI

Quote:

Will surge protectors in power strips cause AFCIs
to nuisance trip?
No. Any correctly operating surge protector system (with no excessive
leakage) will not trip a SQUARE D AFCI circuit breaker
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
An AFCI protects against arc fault, it does not provide surge suppression as far as I know
Agreed. As I understand it, the AFCI has some sort of "intelegence" built into it where it monitors the power flowing through the breaker and trips when it detects a power signal that looks like an arc is occuring. (Perhaps not an exactly a technical description, but perhaps good enough in layman's terms).

A surge suppressor, on the other hand, shunts excessive voltage to ground that occationally occur coming from the power company. A surge is simply a very high voltage jump for just an instant (like nano-seconds), far too short to cause a circuit breaker, AFCI, or GFCI device to trip.


As for AFCI breakers not causing nussance tripping, sounds like something coming from the breaker manufacturers. Apparently there must be enough anicdotal evidence to the contrary, because I found this document where it looks like someone was proposing changes to the NEC requirements for AFCI breakers when they cause nusance trips: http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF...cle210-215.pdf
Just search for "surge".

BTW, the NEC board obviously voted to keep the AFCI requirements as there wasn't apparently any proof that surge supressors are causing false tripping.

Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 02-11-2010 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:06 PM   #15
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AFCI circuit breaker


Quote:
Originally Posted by katrina1 View Post
Is it likely that a motor in a vacumn cleaner, which is being used to clean carpeted areas in AFCI breaker, protection required rooms, could cause false trips in the AFCI breaker on the circuit, to which, that load plugs into.

Also is the AFCI breaker false trips, that is reported to be caused by motorized appliances, one of the reasons that some of the rooms displayed above as being exempt from the AFCI protection requirement, or is it simply that those rooms' exemption status (the Bath, kitchen, Laundry, Garage) are due to current technology not being developed as of 2008, where GFCI outlets and AFCI breakers or GFCI breaker and AFCI breakers affecting the same circuits, not to have a combination compatiblity?

If that non-compatability issue still existed in 2008, has technolgy improved by early 2010 in developing compatablity between combination GFCI and AFCI, breaker and outlets on the same circuit?
In the first half of the Second Paragraph lies (partially) the answer. There are, in fact now on the market circuit breakers that protect against arcing and ground faults. (leakage current). There was an extensive discussion of this issue on this, or another thread on this website. The official name of that circuit breaker is; "A combination Breaker that protects against arc faults and Ground faults; It seems like a repetitive description. It is not! But I won't go into details because recently discussed. Could easily be found here!

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