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Old 06-11-2009, 09:27 AM   #1
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AFCI - Clarification


I just did a main panel swap and am confused a little on the AFCI requirement of the 2008 NEC code.

Apparently my county is on the 2008 NEC.

Since I replaced the planel, I have to bring everything in the panel up to code, right? So this means I need to install AFCI breakers on basically all receptacle and bedroom circuits in the house?

I did not expect having to shell out $40 a pop for these on about 18 circuits.....am I not understanding this correctly?

I will be spending more on AFCI breakers than I did for anything else of my upgrade of 2 200 amp panels.

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Old 06-11-2009, 10:12 AM   #2
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AFCI - Clarification


In most jurisdictions you are NOT required to update all of your existing wiring that was code compliant at the initial install.
Here, if we upgrade the service panel, all that is required is the new panel, new meter, new service conductors (if needed) inspected and powered up by the utility and thats it. Bases all covered.
Now, if you were re-wiring your complete house or making substantial home improvements, then you would be required to bring all that you touch to code.
This is a jurisdictional thing. Whatever the AHJ wants, you must do. Ask.

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Old 06-11-2009, 10:43 AM   #3
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AFCI - Clarification


Thanks.

The inspector finally called me back.

I told him that I had put AFCI on the bedroom circuits, he said that was fine and they wouldnt ask for anything more.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:59 AM   #4
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AFCI - Clarification


I had my panel replaced & upgrade as not needed
The electrician actually asked the Inspector if he had to ugrade anything else when the panel was replaced. Inspector said no
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:25 PM   #5
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AFCI - Clarification


I don't mind spending the extra for a few areas, but the whole house is not something I had budgetted for.

I will likely add one AFCI for the living room as we have electronic gear in there that I wouldn't mind the extra protection.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:38 PM   #6
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Some of you may hate me, but I found some distributors on eBay selling the AFCI breakers; I got a deal on 5 20amp AFCI's for about 50-60 delivered, and 2 15 amp breakers were about $32 delivered.

I know some of the stuff sold on ebay can be junk, but in all reality I figured it was worth it verses spending 30-40 each in the store. If the breakers were junk, no big deal, just had to get through inspection and then I could take them out. Of course since I paid for them, I might as well keep them in there (at least until they become an issue).

Bottom line I spent about $85 dollars on 7 AFCI breakers for the Square D QO panel.

Oh and by the way, my inspector did not require everything to be brought up to code when I did my panel swap, only the new circuits or existing circuits that were altered.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:14 PM   #7
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AFCI - Clarification


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Originally Posted by theatretch85 View Post
Of course since I paid for them, I might as well keep them in there (at least until they become an issue).
Unless the issue is that they don't trip when overloaded....

I buy tons of stuff off eBay, so I'm not questioning that part; there are plenty of reputable sellers still out there. But it couldn't hurt to do what I did in a previous thread and send pics of one of the breakers to the mfr. asking if they're counterfeit. It definitely helped my piece of mind when I re-installed them.

What brand are they, anyways?
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:17 PM   #8
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AFCI - Clarification


I am with Scott. I ebay and craigslist frequently, but knowi there are counterfeit products floating around, I do not want to risk it should I have an electrical fire.

At least this way, I can prove I bought the items from a reputable store and my insurance company could go after them if needed.

Somethings I am just not willing to chance. The tolerance level for you, is different, and that is fine so long as you are prepared to take full responsibility.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:53 PM   #9
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Keep in mind Square D had a recall of AFCI breakers back in 2004
About 700,000 units - I had one
I returned it to HD & had it replaced
The older AFCI's had blue buttons, they changed the color to green
Just because your button is blue doesn't mean it is bad
Check the site(s) for the bad LOT numbers

http://www.us.squared.com/us/squared...llFrameset.htm

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Our number one priority is the safety of our people, our customers and our products. Because of this, we are working in conjunction with the Consumer Products Safety Commission on a voluntary recall of our Square D arc fault interrupter (AFI) circuit breakers manufactured between March 1, 2004 and September 23, 2004.
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/recalls04/square_d.html
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:26 PM   #10
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I am not sure on the manufacture date of the AFCI breakers I have, but they have the green test buttons, not the blue.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:51 PM   #11
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I think I'm just going to borrow some for my final. Oregon addendum only requires them in the bedroom. Too bad I ran 4 circuits for 3 bedrooms
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:56 AM   #12
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I think I'm just going to borrow some for my final. Oregon addendum only requires them in the bedroom. Too bad I ran 4 circuits for 3 bedrooms
It seems they should be required in rooms that have high outlet usage where sparks are likely to be introduced.

I suppose the logic for the bedroom is that if a fire started in there, you have less time to realize and get out from a dead sleep.

I am leaving mine in for my bedrooms (young kids) and will add one to the living room and call it a day. I wonder if one of my kids tried to put something in the outlet, if an AFCI would trip better than a GFI.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:17 AM   #13
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It seems they should be required in rooms that have high outlet usage where sparks are likely to be introduced.

I suppose the logic for the bedroom is that if a fire started in there, you have less time to realize and get out from a dead sleep.
The CPSC claims that arc faults and fires that started in bedrooms caused a lot of the electrical fire fatalities. I don't know what data they have to back this up. I don't have much respect for the CPSC. They try to step on other agencies toes a lot.

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