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#68363 - 08/04/06 10:22 AM AFCI Issues Thread
SolarPowered Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 615
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
In the spirit of Alan's request that we comment on the code proposals that we have problems with, I'd like to start a couple threads here in the General Forum, where they will be more visible, for people to share ideas for comments to the CMPs.

I have the following major issue with the proposed residential AFCI requirement: If what I read is correct, there are no exceptions--ALL 15 & 20 amp circuits will have to be AFCIed. There are a number of places where there are very good reasons NOT to have AFCIs, because of the risks that devolve from spurious tripping:

1. Grandma's ventilator. (I'm talking about the medical variety, that keeps her breathing.)

2. The sump pump.

3. The freezer.

4. Furnace circuits in Fargo, North Dakota.

5. There are reports of various properly-operating equipment that trips AFCIs, such as treadmills.

6. As a business, I do engineering development in an office in my home. Some of my commercial equipment, and designs under test, may be incompatible with AFCIs.

7. I have business computing equipment that I don't want to have tripping out. (Although I recognize that "the rats nest of 'surge-strips' at the computer" may be exactly what the proposal is intend to protect against. There appears to be a fundamental conflict here.)


I will leave it to others to argue about the cost and "nanny-state" aspects. Cost I can tolerate; tripping out the sump pump when I'm away is something I can't tolerate.



[This message has been edited by SolarPowered (edited 08-04-2006).]

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#68364 - 08/04/06 11:08 AM Re: AFCI Issues Thread
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9045
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
I suspect Home Depot will be stocking up on regular single pole breakers and the handy man will have lots of work. It may end up being like the pool door alarms. I always said there was only a dozen or so of them and they just kept rotating through new houses. It is the first question most customers ask on their "new home walk".

How do I disconnect this thing?
_________________________
Greg Fretwell

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#68365 - 08/04/06 12:42 PM Re: AFCI Issues Thread
SolarPowered Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 615
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
Greg, what I'm hoping for in this thread is cogent arguments that can be presented to the folks who make the Code, so that we can get a code that we can live with without resorting to fixing things after the inspector leaves.

It's very possible that if, say, the code requires an AFCI on the sump pump circuit, and you make the very reasonable correction of replacing that AFCI with a normal breaker, that there could be very bad repercusions if a fire were later to occur. An EC who made the change might find himself legally liable for the fire; a homeowner who made such a change might find that his insurance is voided by the intentional circumvention of code. If a death were to result from said fire, one could even find oneself facing manslaughter charges. If the code had a an exception that covered the sump pump circuit, such issues would be avoided.


[This message has been edited by SolarPowered (edited 08-04-2006).]

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#68366 - 08/04/06 01:02 PM Re: AFCI Issues Thread
earlydean Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
Well, it seems whenever any new technology is required, a lot of folks resist the change!

Grandma's ventilator has battery back-up and an alarm
The sump pump has a high limit alarm, and maybe legally required standby power. And, if it is really that important, then it will be hard-wired to a non-GFCI or AFCI circuit.
The freezer could have an alarm.
The furnace is already hard wired. (hard wired does not required AFCI.)
Appliances that trip the AFCI do so because the AFCI is doing its job. The industry will have to manufacture motors that do not arc. Brushes are out, induction motors are in.
Incompatibility with AFCI, I suspect will be much less than these screaming sticks in the mud.

AFCIs are required, not because of a nanny-government. They are required because we have a new technology that can save lives.
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Earl

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#68367 - 08/04/06 02:00 PM Re: AFCI Issues Thread
Alan Belson Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 1801
Loc: Mayenne N. France
Induction motors for everything? I think not.

Alan
_________________________
Wood work but can't!

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#68368 - 08/04/06 02:09 PM Re: AFCI Issues Thread
SolarPowered Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 615
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
earlydean, your comments suggest that the secondhand report I've heard that AFCIs will be required on all 15- and 20-amp circuits is not completely accurate, as you appear to believe that direct-wired circuits are exempted. Can someone provide a link to the actual language that is currently proposed for the 2008 Code?

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#68369 - 08/04/06 03:28 PM Re: AFCI Issues Thread
earlydean Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
_________________________
Earl

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#68370 - 08/04/06 03:37 PM Re: AFCI Issues Thread
earlydean Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
This is on page 81 of 998:

"2-111 Log #2606 NEC-P02 Final Action: Accept in Principle in Part
(210.12)
____________________________________________________________
Submitter: Thomas Domitrovich, Eaton Electrical
Recommendation: Revise text to read:
210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
(A) Definition. Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter. (No change)
(B) Dwelling Unit Living Areas . All 120-volt, single phase, 15-
and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit
living areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit
interrupter installed to provide protection of the branch
circuit.
Exception: (No change)"
_________________________
Earl

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#68371 - 08/04/06 03:44 PM Re: AFCI Issues Thread
earlydean Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
and this on page 89:

"2-142 Log #3488 NEC-P02 Final Action: Accept
(210.12(B))
____________________________________________________________
Submitter: Alan Manche, Square D Co.
Recommendation: Revise 210.12(B) as shown below:
(B) Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch
circuits installed in dwelling units shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination type installed to
provide protection of the branch circuit."

There are two submissions, one for just circuits supplying outlets, and this one for all circuits.
_________________________
Earl

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#68372 - 08/04/06 03:48 PM Re: AFCI Issues Thread
earlydean Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
Now we had better stop this branch of the discussion or the moderator will pull the plug and send us to the 2008 NEC page!
_________________________
Earl

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