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#52935 06/12/05 11:14 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 55
AZSam Offline OP
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.

#52936 06/12/05 11:20 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
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 12:22 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,374
I would suggest reading Bob's comment about 100 times.

Ryan Jackson,
Salt Lake City
#52938 06/12/05 12:58 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 212
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 01:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,445
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
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 04:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
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 08:54 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 324
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 10:01 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 681
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. [Linked Image]

Pierre Belarge
#52943 06/12/05 10:44 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,928
Likes: 34
<opinion alert>
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 <pinched> 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.
<opinion off>

Greg Fretwell
#52944 06/12/05 10:49 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
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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