How are you handling your wet/dry bar countertop locations in dwelling units? Wouldn't these counter top receptacles also need AFCI protection as well as GFCI protection for wet bars and all other receptacles within 6-foot from the edge if they are not considered as a kitchen or a similar area? It appears that they can just be tied into any 15A general-purpose AFCI branch circuit or even on one of the 20A AFCI SABC's if located in a dinning room.
I think the NEC does a poor job addressing these now very common installations as this means that under counter refrigerators, wine coolers and other cord and plug connected counter top appliances like blenders, microwaves and toaster ovens could all share the same circuit as the other general-purpose receptacle loads in the rest of the room or even other rooms.
I feel that if they were considered as "similar areas", then at least they would be subject to the SABC requirements in 210.52,B,[1,2,3].
You've hit on one problem inherent in trying to make the NEC into a design manual, specifying everything down to the wire-nut level. The problem with such a specific approach to rules is that there are far too many variations possible for 'the book' to address them all.
Heck, we can have trouble defining 'rooms,' let alone specific ones, such as bedrooms, kitchens, and baths. Sometimes it almost seems like architects deliberately try to frustrate the rule book!
That said .... at some point 'common sense' and 'professional judgement' have to come into play. While some might say 'just add GFCI devices to an AFCI circuit,' that really doesn't address the design issues; you almost certainly want to follow 'kitchen rules' regarding counter receptacles and dedicated circuit(s). If you want to fish a multi-wire circuit to do this, you can rule out any sort of AFCI protection. With the similarity in hazards to a kitchen, I think you really want GFCI protection.
So, I reccomend you go back to the very beginning; discuss, in detail, your customers' specific plans, for that specific job - and make your best design code. It's a pretty poor inspector that would let the 'letter of the law' get in the way of good design.
Reno, you hit the nail on the head. The reason that we have definitions for so many obvious rooms is bacause of the Architects and the 'barracks lawyers' trying to get out of the requirements for some warped reason (it's not always cost). I had an Architect ask me what they would have to remove from a 'bathroom' so that they could call it a 'powder room' to get around some of the requirements. Now we have definitions for Kitchen, Bathroom, even 'Structure'. Sometimes I wish it was possible to call their parents up and get these guys straightened out.
Well, I'm kind of torn on the issue, but I can't really see how having the NEC define minimum circuit requirements for these wet/dry bar countertop areas delves into design issues anymore so than requiring at least one telecommunications line to be installed in a building or the need to provide a means of bonding with an intersystem bonding terminal strip at the exterior of a building for use by telephone, CATV and satellite installers does.
Granted that these wet/dry bar areas are not full-blown kitchens, but some are pretty elaborate. This basically leaves the integrity of the installation entirely up to the installer, which judging from the expanded use of AFCI's, GFCI's, TR receptacles, handle ties for MWBC's, disconnects for double-ended fluorescent fixtures in commercial buildings as well as two the previously mentioned items, the NEC has obviously indicated that they do not like to rely on.
BTW: A funny thing regarding the exterior terminal blocks for CATV and Telco, etc... I've only had to install them twice so far and both times the installers never even used them, so what a waste of time and money. Although, I suppose it could be said that the NEC only requires them to be there, not that they be used.
#185991 - 04/09/0901:43 PMRe: Wet/Dry bar locations in dwelling units
KJay, you mademy point by referencing the 'communications outlet' ... but we drift off-topic.
Let's look at things from a few different perspectives.
Assuming that you have a sink and a counter-top microwave ... there's no kitchen, and under the 08 the circuits can be simple extensions of other convenience circuits, with AFCI protection. There's no GFCI requirement, even if that microwave sits right next to the sink - that '6 ft. rule' is specific tolaundry sinks. Nor is there any requirement for there to be ANY counter receptacles.
Now, let's change that to a built-in microwave. Oops- NOW we have a kitchen. That means two GFCI 'small appliance' circuits, even if there is no counter at all, and nothing to plug in to them.
"Some are pretty elaborate" sums it up nicely; you, as a professional who is paid for his training and judgement, have to make a good design decision. This will be based upon the specifics of the job, and your conversations with the customer. You simply can't have a 'one size fits all' answer.
With an 'open' floor plan, you also have to decide what the boundaries are to the different areas - for lighting control, if nothing else.
We all encounter folks who think that they 'know the code,' or 'know electric.' One of my customers - a plbg & heating contractor - is this sort. Why, he had ONE 'electrical engineering' class in college, so he's an expert. He's an absolute genius at hacking things in, usuallyin a misguided attempt to save a few pennies. His work has often been featured in this forum - need I say more?
All you can do is ask these folks to get out of your way, and come back when you're done. They're usually surprised - and quite pleased - at the results.
It's also an argument in favor of 'flat rate' pricing.The guy will be charged the quoted amount, no matter how the results are achieved. Let them into managing the job, and they'll begrudge your choice of the better wire nuts!
#185993 - 04/09/0902:15 PMRe: Wet/Dry bar locations in dwelling units
KJay, all I see these days for the "intersystem bonding strip" is a tail of #4 solid sticking out of the meter pan. They bug onto it from the cable and phone. (usually all in the same bug). If the copper thieves don't steal it, the system works but it is ugly. If I was the homeowner I would insist the builder come up with some kind of enclosed terminal block but most of them never see the trade rags where they sell them so they think what they have is all there is. I did see one at the Home Depot the other day
The 'wet bar' here seems to morf into an 'illegal' 2nd kitchen (after finals). A cooking appliance appears, followed by the furniture delivery to complete the illegal 2nd apt. That's the zoning guys situation!
As to design...as an EC I had numerous chats with the HO's to determine intended uses.
As an AHJ, I can only go by the NEC, and I look forward (LOL) to the AFCI's coming soon here.
The intersystem bonding point is another situation...