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Old 11-10-2007, 12:28 PM   #1
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O.k. DIYers and pros... I was perusing an old (record breaking 780 post) thread in a pro's forum. Heres the scenario:

Andy builds a dream home in 2006. In 2007 he realizes he didn't put flood lights in, and bands of Juvenile Deliquents roam the neighborhood. Being a savvy guy, he installs floods on the front porch and the back porch. To switch these lights he installs a three-way switch at the front door. The "feed" is at this switch. The circuit that controls this new switch only has the dining room chandelier and the living room lamp onit, so he is good to go as far as that goes. He installs a four- way switch at the back door. He then installs another three way switch right by his headboard by his bed(isn't this Andy guy smart??? he doesn't even have to get up to scare away the kids!)

Question: does the switch in his bedroom have to be protected by an Arc-fault circuit interupter??? Why or why not?

Have fun, and think about this one a little.

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Old 11-10-2007, 02:01 PM   #2
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At the risk of being told what an amateur (a title that I never debated BTW) I am by Thom and GSE, I'd say no because you say the feed is at the front door which is, needless to say, not in the bedroom. Unless the light is on, there is no current in the bedroom.

But when the light is on....hmmm...OK, clearly I don't know, but am patiently waiting to find out.

Unless you're talking about after 1/1/08, then yes.

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Old 11-10-2007, 03:30 PM   #3
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I would also say no because the lighting load is outside and not in the bedroom.
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:02 PM   #4
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Oh Andy.... you may have asked an excellent question that may get a lot of debate. The whole jest of your question will revolve around whether the switch is an outlet. So I won't at this time give an opinion but I'll set the code up .

Art. 100 definition of an outlet
.....A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment.

Notice that this graphic calls a switch an outlet... kind of an oxy-moron?
Is it an outlet or isn't it? The branch circuit Andy ran would be supplying an outlet in a bedroom whether the lighting load is or isn't in that bedroom....if the switch is an outlet. A circuit breaker protects a branch circuit that supplies current to utilization equipment and it is a switch manual or automatic.. So is the breaker box an outlet? Is the circuit breaker an outlet? It's certainly a switch.
Article 100 makes it clear that the point where a light connects to the branch circuit is an outlet. But switches have lights so are they a lighting outlet? Just what was the intent of the code writers?

Great question Andy!

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Old 11-10-2007, 06:36 PM   #5
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I'm witholding my opinion as well. Come on DIYers, chime in!! I won't attack you. No opinion will be considered "out of play". Give your thoughts and we'll see where this goes.
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:59 PM   #6
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A switch is not an outlet. It does not use power. I'm in Canada. If the NEC says outlets must be AFCI then I say no.
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:01 PM   #7
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I would have to say yes even though the light is located outside the bedroom the supply is within the bedroom. The light could be in India..

I agree its a masacre of the code and is really cornfusing...

I would just put a Phalanx gattling gun on the front porch to spark up them juvies... Leave the lights alone and load with tracer rounds... They look better in the dark anyway...
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:13 PM   #8
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Let's mix it up a little. Jump to 2008. Andy wants to add a light over his kitchen sink. For reasons known only to Andy (that guy is a nutter! ) he wants to put this light switch in the hallway. AFCI or not???
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Old 11-11-2007, 12:17 AM   #9
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Andy has already said (I think it was you...er umm..HIM) that GA won't adopt the 2008 until 2009, so in 2008, no Andy would be fine on a "normal" OCD.

Now if you mean jump to anyone else's 2008, then the way I understand it, yes AFCI required because ALL circuits are to be AFCI as of 1/1/08...correct? By the way this is really a question, not a rhetorical one. If it's not ALL circuits then I'm understanding wrong...what is it?

Last edited by jproffer; 11-11-2007 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 11-11-2007, 12:47 AM   #10
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This is the present language of what the code is going to say in 2008.


2008 NECó210.12
Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
(B) Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in a dwelling unit in family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, sun rooms, recreation rooms, 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.
FPN: For information on types of arc-fault circuit interrupters, see UL 1699-1999, Standard for Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters.
Exception No. 1: Where RMC. IMC, EMT or steel armored cable, Type AC, meeting the requirements of 250.118 using metal outlet and junction boxes is installed for the portion of the branch circuit between the branch circuit overcurrent device and the first outlet, it shall be permitted to install a combination AFCI at the first outlet to provide protection for the remaining portion of the branch circuit
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Exception No. 1: Where RMC. IMC, EMT or steel armored cable, Type AC, meeting the requirements of 250.118 using metal outlet and junction boxes is installed for the portion of the branch circuit between the branch circuit overcurrent device and the first outlet, it shall be permitted to install a combination AFCI at the first outlet to provide protection for the remaining portion of the branch circuit _
OK So I'm in Chicago and like I've said before we run pipe for everything. I don't have the 2008 Chicago Code yet but does NEC define combination AFCI device? AFCI in a dining room? Come on. I don't want to digress off of the initial question which is an interesting FPN on it's own. I still say point of use is outside the area affected by the code.
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Old 11-11-2007, 02:36 AM   #12
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AFCI Types
There are six devices covered in UL 1699, three of which are defined there as follows:
Branch/feeder AFCI — A device intended to be installed at the origin of a branch circuit or feeder, such as at a panelboard. It is intended to provide protection of the branch-circuit wiring, feeder wiring, or both, against unwanted effects of arcing. This device also provides limited protection to branch-circuit extension wiring. It may be a circuit-breaker type device or a device in its own enclosure mounted at or near a panelboard.
Outlet circuit AFCI — A device intended to be installed at a branch-circuit outlet, such as at an outlet box. It is intended to provide protection of cord sets and power-supply cords connected to it (when provided with receptacle outlets) against the unwanted effects of arcing. This device may provide feed-through protection of the cord sets and power-supply cords connected to downstream receptacles.
Combination AFCI — An AFCI which complies with the requirements for both branch/feeder and outlet circuit AFCIs. It is intended to protect downstream branch-circuit wiring and cord sets and power-supply cords.

Below qoute by Don Resqcapt19 Moderator Mike Holt forum

Be sure to click on the high lighted link then on the "guide info"

Quote:
The currently available AFCIs are of the branch circuit and feeder" type. These devices provided very little protection beyond the fixed wiring. The "combination" type is said to provide protection for the cords and appliances that are connected to the outlet. It is called a "combination" type because it is required to provide protection that branch/feeder-type AFCIs (see AVZQ) and outlet-circuit-type AFCIs (see AWBZ) provide. At this point in time there are no combination devices on the market and only 2 of the major breaker manufacturers have a UL listing for a "combination" AFCI breaker. It is interesting to note that what they claim a combination AFCI device can do is what they claimed the original AFCI device could do....some 13 years ago in the original AFCI proposals for the 1996 code.
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Last edited by Stubbie; 11-11-2007 at 02:55 AM. Reason: add information
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Old 11-11-2007, 07:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jproffer View Post
Andy has already said (I think it was you...er umm..HIM) that GA won't adopt the 2008 until 2009, so in 2008, no Andy would be fine on a "normal" OCD.

Now if you mean jump to anyone else's 2008, then the way I understand it, yes AFCI required because ALL circuits are to be AFCI as of 1/1/08...correct? By the way this is really a question, not a rhetorical one. If it's not ALL circuits then I'm understanding wrong...what is it?

It is not a real question. A question similiar to it sparked the longest thread ever over at MikeHolt.com. There are know set in stone"right" answers...Only opinions. So lets have 'em all this week and have fun with this.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
It is not a real question.
LOL, sorry. Should have clarified a little...MY question was not a rhetorical one (if not ALL circuits, then what?...for AFCI in 2008). Stubbie gave the code reference, so with that:

Quote:
in family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, sun rooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas
I'm back to assuming now, but I would have to assume based on my knowledge that a kitchen would be a "similar room". Similar specifically to (from that list anyway) hallways and closets, in that most people don't spend alot of time in a kitchen just doing nothing (sitting around watching TV and what-not), but it is at least passed through on a semi-regular basis.

So I'd still say yes..AFCI protected.

I would ask someone to PM the correct answer and reasoning, but I don't really see myself putting a light in a kitchen with the switch in the hallway anytime soon ...so it's a non-issue.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:30 AM   #15
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I am a DIYer with basic electrical knowledge. One would think that a Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter would detect arcs between the hot and neutral or ground. Most wiring devices (outlets, switches, etc.) have a voltage rating, which I assume means the voltage at which an arc can occur, and since most are rated at 600 volts it's unlikely that normal residential voltage would cause an arc in a wiring device. That means an arc most likely will occur where there is worn insulation (can be anywhere) or a loose connection (should be in a box). The wording of the code effective 1-1-08 specifically mentions bedroom. With a switch controlling the flood lights located in the bedroom, an AFCI would be required after 1-1-08. A potenial arc point is located in the bedroom (loose connection). It's my understanding the 1-1-08 requirement is in NEC 2005. However, it seems that a romex circuit passing over a bedroom heading to a room where an AFCI is not required would pose the same threat. The insulation could become worn or damaged over the bedroom.

A couple of questions: Would a GFCI with a higher trip current rating serve the same purpose as an AFCI?

Is the potenial for a loose connection the reason most electricians say use the screws on a wiring device not the slip in connections?

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