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Old 02-10-2013, 04:37 PM   #1
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AFCI - old wiring


Hi;
My 80+yr old house still has a lot of old BX or AC cable with rubber and cloth insulation.
Would installing AFCI combination (type CH) breakers on these circuits be reasonable at this point, or should I just leave it alone until I can rewire the circuits and then install the AFCI?
Note that many of these circuits feed bedrooms. That is my main concern at this point.

I have been reading up on AFCI, and it seems that when they first came on the market, they were very temperamental. But now that they have had time to be refined, I would hope they are less so.

What's your opinion/advice on this?

Thanks

FW

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Old 02-10-2013, 04:39 PM   #2
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AFCI - old wiring


I would not put an AFCI on anything I don't have to. Yes, they still are temperamental.

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Old 02-10-2013, 04:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
I would not put an AFCI on anything I don't have to. Yes, they still are temperamental.
More so than GFCI?
I have not had any trouble with most of the GFCI in my home but don't have any AFCI installed yet.

Another thought:
The NEC says that kitchens don't require AFCI, but dining rooms do.
It also states that if metallic type cable (and boxes) is run between the breaker and the first receptacle in an area that requires AFCI, that an AFCI receptacle can be used to protect everything from that point downstream.
But what if a type NM cable is run from the breaker to the kitchen (which does not require AFCI) and passes through the dining room (which does require AFCI). Shouldn't this circuit then be AFCI protected?
Since NEC differentiates between type MC and type NM in determining where the AFCI protection needs to start, it makes sense to consider the route of the cable, doesn't it?

Yes. I'm probably making this whole thing a lot more complicated than is required. But it is interesting to make the point.

FW
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:59 PM   #4
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AFCI - old wiring


#1 GFI's are nowhere near as problematic as AFCI's.

#2 The NEC doesn't care about the route taken

#3 Until just recently, an AFCI receptacle was not available on the market.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:16 PM   #5
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I've seen an AFCI trip because a light bulb burned out.... Guess it was doing it's job....

Are you sure your current panel will accept AFCI breakers? Personally, I would leave it alone.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Kyle_in_rure View Post
I've seen an AFCI trip because a light bulb burned out.... Guess it was doing it's job....

Are you sure your current panel will accept AFCI breakers? Personally, I would leave it alone.
I believe so. The panel is CH. I would assume that since the panel can take GFCI breakers, it will also take the type CH AFCI Combo breaker.


FW
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
#1 GFI's are nowhere near as problematic as AFCI's.

#2 The NEC doesn't care about the route taken

#3 Until just recently, an AFCI receptacle was not available on the market.
#2 is interesting, since they do care about whether the wiring is type MC or NM. That leads me to believe they are considering the entire branch a risk for fire in an arcing situation.

So I guess I'll just leave things alone until I need to make changes or add circuits.

FW
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:07 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by KE2KB View Post
I believe so. The panel is CH. I would assume that since the panel can take GFCI breakers, it will also take the type CH AFCI Combo breaker.


FW
Oh, in that case, it probably would.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:30 PM   #9
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The CH AFCI Combo breakers are about $45 for a single pole at Home Depot, but I found some on Ebay for about 1/2 that price; supposedly bran-new.
Don't know if I should trust buying from unauthorized seller on Ebay though.

FW
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:35 AM   #10
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AFCI - old wiring


Quote:
Originally Posted by KE2KB
The CH AFCI Combo breakers are about $45 for a single pole at Home Depot, but I found some on Ebay for about 1/2 that price; supposedly bran-new.
Don't know if I should trust buying from unauthorized seller on Ebay though.

FW
I would buy the from the local supply house. Then you know they are good. If I bought any online I would ask questions about it and only get one to start.

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Old 02-11-2013, 08:44 AM   #11
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AFCI - old wiring


Quote:
Originally Posted by KE2KB View Post
The CH AFCI Combo breakers are about $45 for a single pole at Home Depot, but I found some on Ebay for about 1/2 that price; supposedly bran-new.
Don't know if I should trust buying from unauthorized seller on Ebay though.

FW
NO WAY I'd by half priced "new" breakers off eBay!


AFCI's and old wiring are a good idea safety wise, but you WILL have plenty of nuisance tripping. Some to the point where you cannot even use an AFCI.

Keep in mind, the majority of "electrical fires" you hear about are from extension cords and wiring in very poor/damaged shape. Just because your wiring is old does not mean it isn't safe.

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