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#52935 - 06/12/05 08:14 AM AFCI's
AZSam Offline

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 56
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ USA
Just had a friend, who is a residential EC, stop by. He told me that in one jurisdiction where he does new home projects, the AFCI CB’s are so problem prone that once the AHJ has signed off the GC has the EC’s remove the AFCI CB’s and replace with GFCI CB’s. This is the only jurisdiction of about 12 counties and several cities in the general area that requires AFCI’s. All other jurisdictions have rejected that code requirement. Are they really that trouble prone? To clarify, all permits are obtained by the GC and the subs are not named on the permits.

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#52936 - 06/12/05 08:20 AM Re: AFCI's
iwire Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Named on the permit or not if the "S" hits the fan they will be held accountable as they are the person on the job that has the NEC knowledge.

No GC could ever get me to do that.
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#52937 - 06/12/05 09:22 AM Re: AFCI's
Ryan_J Offline

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1355
Loc: West Jordan, Utah, USA
I would suggest reading Bob's comment about 100 times.
Ryan Jackson,
Salt Lake City

#52938 - 06/12/05 09:58 AM Re: AFCI's
Gregtaylor Offline

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 212
Loc: Boise, Idaho, USA
AFCI's really are that trouble prone. Or at least they were. Still, that is no reason to knowingly violate a legal requirement. No one could get me to do it either.

#52939 - 06/12/05 10:05 AM Re: AFCI's
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I am no fan of the AFCI requirement, but...

I have installed many since the rule was enacted, as well as many GFI breakers, and the only time I've had a problem was when my wiring technique was faulty, or something else was wrong.
Little things- like forgetting to tighten down an un-used screw on a device- matter with these things. Getting wires mixed up between circuits will also drive you nuts. A forgotten box, covered by the rock crew, is another cause of aggravarion.

Only once was the problem particularily difficult to run down. So, if you're having that much trouble, look at the troubleshooting process as a learning experience.
Of course, it is also possible the GC is either blowing smoke, or just a cheapskate (In Reno, we had one who would remove re-bar from wet concrete, hose it off, and place it in the next foundation- as soon as the inspector left!)

#52940 - 06/12/05 01:05 PM Re: AFCI's
Electricmanscott Offline

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
If this is an adopted code amendmendment than no problem. If this AHJ is just making it up as he goes that might be a problem. We don't know what kind of authority the the AHJ is empowered with in that jurisdiction so it is hard to say if this is bad. It does sound fishy however.

#52941 - 06/12/05 05:54 PM Re: AFCI's
arseegee Offline

Registered: 01/28/02
Posts: 321
Loc: Statesboro, GA USA
I went through my invoices to see how many afci's we have installed since june of '04. The total was 147 and I have had only one of them bad. And it was a bad cb not a wiring problem. I have 5 afci in my house. No probs there either. All were GE 20A AFCI's.

I know Square D had a bad run not long ago but I feel the problem usually lies in the wiring method of the contractor. As for me, I'll cut my liabilty as much as I can and do as the code book says!

#52942 - 06/12/05 07:01 PM Re: AFCI's
PCBelarge Offline

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 657
Loc: Dobbs Ferry, NY, USA
I don't seem to get it?.... There are plenty of AFCI circuit breakers being installed in this area, and very few complaints.

I think that AFCIs may be a conspiracy of some sorts for the field installers to pay closer attention to their wiring methods.
Pierre Belarge

#52943 - 06/12/05 07:44 PM Re: AFCI's
gfretwell Offline


Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9045
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa

I have heard lots of AFCI stories and my thought is these problems are in that huge cludge of white wires under a wirenut in a ceiling box. You know the one I mean. Back in the pre-AFCI days if the neutral had some incidental contact with the box (hickey or whatever) because of rough handling or simply a little too much copper sticking out, there was a technical violation but the light stayed on. Now the AFCI trips. A fan shaking the box will make this an intermittant failure and make it easier to "prove" AFCIs and fans don't get along.
Greg Fretwell

#52944 - 06/12/05 07:49 PM Re: AFCI's
macmikeman Offline

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 718
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
I managed to reverse my hot and neutral wires going into a cutler afci once and of course it made funny noise and did not work correctly. I say this to point out one thing. I find they are quite reliable as far as not tripping just so long as the installer slows down to make sure there is no cross neutrals, ground wires touching neutrals, or in the case I did just plain old speeding and not paying attention. If you think about it these miswiring details are not supposed to be done whether there is an afci in the circuit or not. Since I began to install afci's I notice i sure pay more attention to the way my wires fold back into boxes . Firestopping issues aside, they certainly help to lessen sloppy install work.

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