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Joined: Aug 2007
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leland Offline OP
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Would you consider a service upgrade,residential,'modifying branch ckts'? Hence the need for AFCI.

IMO No, this is regarding the change to add AFCI when adding to or modifying an existing ckt.

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions in some of my circles. Some of whom are inspectors.


Thanx guys.

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Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,677
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G
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I probably would not force the AFCI on them but I might suggest using them on any circuits that were not multiwire.

The Libertarian in me says this should be the INFORMED CUSTOMER'S choice on an existing installation. You can certainly make a good safety argument but the first time they start getting nuisance trips they will want their old breakers back.


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
S
Member
Vermont's chief inspector (thankfully retired) insisted the state's rules require afci's for service upgrades

this became impossible, due to multiwires

his response (and this was a good 10 years ago) was to go back and install them when they came to the market

his stance lost out to an nfpa ruling, i believe a Mr. Jeff Sargent may have been involved

that said i've sold a lot of afci's to residences with K&T, even sold an insurance company on it once

no, i don't tell them what the manufacturer claims (or in the case of UL1699, what they don't come clean on)

i just tell them it's enhanced protection

~S~

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 354
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pdh Offline
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Not an inspector or electrician ... but I do have that bit of libertarian in me as well. When a home owner upgrades something, he/she should never be forced to upgrade something else. If the a change in a circuit would not require a change in a breaker, the breaker should not be otherwise changed. But if the breaker has to be changed, and AFCI is available, it should be changed to AFCI.

As for multiwire, I would simply classify that as "AFCI is not available", except for the CH panels where I have seen 2-pole AFCIs in their catalog (maybe BR panels have them, too). Square-D and others need to get on board and quit making excuses, or else completely fund a nationwide "replace every residential multiwire" campaign.

There are numerous scenarios where people would simply not do upgrades at all if forced to "over upgrade" or disallowed to "incrementally upgrade". We should want homeowners to upgrade as much as they can afford. One scenario I had mentioned a long time ago was the case where someone with an old bathroom mirror/light/outlet combo that had ungrounded unprotected outlet on a 15 amp #14 circuit could not make this "incremental upgrade" by adding a GFCI outlet in the wall next to this mirror thing, because they would be forced to upgrade the wiring to allow 20 amp to meet the 20 amp requirement. Basically the code, if fully enforced for upgrades, would be forcing someone to stay more unsafe than they could be.

A landlord renting residential is another story. I'm all for requiring them to meet the current code every time a tenancy change takes place, including a re-inspect if that hasn't happened in the past X years.

As for a home being sold, it is a frequent case of homes not meeting today's code. A list of every upgrade needed to meet current code should be provided to the buyer before closing, and buyer allowed to withdraw on the basis of electrical code issue if the seller won't correct or deduct estimated value from price. I don't mind buying a house out of compliance as long as I know exactly what I'm getting into and what it will cost me to correct it, and a discount to cover that. I'd actually like buying a home where I have to do a total rewire since then I'd know even the hidden parts are now done right by the people I'd hire to do it.

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
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leland Offline OP
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Originally Posted by leland
Would you consider a service upgrade,residential,'modifying branch ckts'? Hence the need for AFCI.

IMO No, this is regarding the change to add AFCI when adding to or modifying an existing ckt.

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions in some of my circles. Some of whom are inspectors.


Thanx guys.



Thanks folks. I'm a card carrying Republican. (not sure of the connection)

Is a service change - 60A to 200A - a modification to branch ckts?

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
Member
Well there are two ways this can go.

If a service change is deemed as requiring simply changing everything between the PoCo connection and the branch circuit connections, then none of the 'downstream' requirements come into the picture.

If a service change is deemed to be 'modifying' everything downstream, then it's a complete rewire - and the scale of the work will in turn require additional circuits, TR receptacles, AFCI's, hard-wired smokes,that ground wire, etc.

Keep in mind that you're already required to 'up' the service to 100 amp- even if the place is a tiny hut that gets along quite happily on a 30-amp fusebox.

So why the service change? Well, because the property changed hands, and the insurance company wants 100 amps, wants breakers in place of fuses, and probably frowns on K&T as well.

With the remodel a complete gut, it's but a short step to require modern earthquate, fire, and energy rules. It is as if someone waved a magic wand and can require you to knock down and rebuild your home simply because of its' age - all because a simple sale took place.

My comments on such a construction of code requirements range from quoting the Tories to the profane.

IMO, you're not 'altering' the circuit any more than were you to replace an ivory receptacle with a white one.

Last edited by renosteinke; 04/02/11 07:12 PM.
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
K
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Unless something has recently changed, every MA code class Iíve been to in the past, theyíve always said NO to AFCIís being required on a panel change. If you add a new circuit, then Yes for that circuit. If you are replacing a panel, that is not a new branch circuit installation or a change to the existing branch circuit.

The AFCI requirement in 406 doesnít even kick in until 2014.

IMO, the requirement for GFCI protection found in 406.4 also only applies when you replace a receptacle, so you would not be required to install GFCIís on the existing branch circuits on a panel change either, although most of us usually will.

Joined: Jan 2005
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pdh Offline
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Originally Posted by leland
Thanks folks. I'm a card carrying Republican. (not sure of the connection)

I make my own cards.

Originally Posted by leland
Is a service change - 60A to 200A - a modification to branch ckts?
Without consulting code, IMHO I'd say it is not a change of the circuits themselves, but is a change of breakers such that circuits which would require AFCI, and for which AFCI is available, would need to now be AFCI. Someone might argue that if all the old breakers can be used in the new panel, they can be used and grandfathered in (I wouldn't fight that argument, but would not pose it, either).

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
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leland Offline OP
Member
Originally Posted by KJay
Unless something has recently changed, every MA code class Iíve been to in the past, theyíve always said NO to AFCIís being required on a panel change. If you add a new circuit, then Yes for that circuit. If you are replacing a panel, that is not a new branch circuit installation or a change to the existing branch circuit.

The AFCI requirement in 406 doesnít even kick in until 2014.

IMO, the requirement for GFCI protection found in 406.4 also only applies when you replace a receptacle, so you would not be required to install GFCIís on the existing branch circuits on a panel change either, although most of us usually will.


Really? So we will be on the NEXT cycle.
Bureaucracy at it's best!!

Even if that would throw on an additional cost?
$39-our COST- $59-CUSTOMER COST.

For essentially every ckt in the home?
\As we don't typically price in circuit checking and verification on our service upgrades,do we?

You can't in good conscience tell me that you price in AFCI on a service change can you?

Now GFCI - I always up sell when passable.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,288
Likes: 4
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Leland:
NJ stance on your OP is "NO".

I'll keep it as short as I can....

Panel change falls under 'Rehab" (5:23-6) which presently uses the 2005 NEC as adopted in NJ, which was NO AFCI at all.

Gutting an existing SFD, and rewiring all; NO AFCI required. Doing an addition (increase in structure volume) is AFCI required. Unless, an existing circuit is 'extended' into the addition, then NO AFCI.

Not that any of the above helps in MA, but that's how it is here.



John
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