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Old 01-19-2011, 09:44 AM   #1
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Panel/Service upgrade questions


I am looking at having the electrical panel and service upgraded at my old (circa ~1900) home from a 20-slot panel with 100A service to a newer 40-slot panel with 200A service.

My questions:
  1. I have read that Arc-Fault breakers are required in all non-wet service areas (e.g., bedrooms), is that correct?
  2. If I have the panel upgraded, I should have the electrician doing the work change the breakers in those areas from non-AFCI to AFCI to meet code, correct?
I ask because I posed that question to one of the contractors that is coming to provide an estimate and he told me that, because the wiring in the house is already grand-fathered in, the new breakers do not need to be changed to AFCI. Now, perhaps I am misunderstanding, but if the breakers are replaced (specifically to work with the new panel), does that not mean that they are no-longer able to be considered 'grand-fathered' and *must* be replaced to meet current code requirements?

For reference, I am in Baltimore, MD (which seems to be under NEC 2005, IIRC).

Thank you for your assistance.

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Old 01-19-2011, 10:00 AM   #2
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Panel/Service upgrade questions


The only person to answer that question correctley is the building department.
Some place consider a new panel upgrade to include gfci's, arcfault breakers, and new smoke detectors.

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Old 01-19-2011, 07:52 PM   #3
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Panel/Service upgrade questions


You cant just throw in AFCIs where normal breakers were. AFCIs require the circuit to be installed a certain way.

MOST IF NOT EVERYWHERE do not require breakers to be converted to AFCI.......YET..... the 2011 code (adoptable in 2012) will require this..........but yes, contact the Electrical or Building authority in your area or an electrician in your area......if he says no, then its no as he probably has enough experience to know the code.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:42 AM   #4
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Panel/Service upgrade questions


First, thank you for replying. Upon yours and jbfan's advice, I have sent a question to my local building office. I hope to hear back from them soon, but considering that this is not the first time I have tried to get information from them, I may be hoping in vain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LyonsElecSupply View Post
You cant just throw in AFCIs where normal breakers were. AFCIs require the circuit to be installed a certain way.
How does the installation of an AFCI circuit differ than that of a non-AFCI? It is still NM, right? 14/2 or 12/2 (or larger), right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LyonsElecSupply View Post
MOST IF NOT EVERYWHERE do not require breakers to be converted to AFCI.......YET..... the 2011 code (adoptable in 2012) will require this..........but yes, contact the Electrical or Building authority in your area or an electrician in your area......if he says no, then its no as he probably has enough experience to know the code.
That is good advice. I am still confused on the idea of grandfathering in something completely new, however.

Thank you both.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:03 AM   #5
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Panel/Service upgrade questions


Good luck,

Old work, and AFCI breakers or AFCI receptacles can be a nightmare.
In theory they sound great, but don't always work as planned.
This all depends on what the inspector wants.

The last 1900 house I worked on had knob and tube wiring to remove.

Bob
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:33 AM   #6
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Panel/Service upgrade questions


YOu do just physically replace normal breakers with AFCIs,

however for AFCIs you CANNOT share a neutral. Older wiring also may cause it to trip due to degradation on the insulation. Alot of older houses pre 1970-50 ish in some areas, used to share neutrals on their wiring runs. If you put AFCIs in there they will constantly trip.

As far as grandfathering goes, they dont want to fix something thats existing for no reason at all.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:43 AM   #7
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Panel/Service upgrade questions


When I did my upgrade, AFCI were not required, even though it was a new panel and service from the transformer.

I put them in anyways for the bedrooms because I wanted the added protection. I have no nuisance trips, my house was built in the 70s and has 12/2 NM for all electrical.

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