Does anyone know the GFCI threshold on C/H AFCI breakers? Assuming they have GFCI protection built in. Would an AFCI serve as GFCI protection in a required location? (such as an outdoor receptacle tapped into a bedroom circuit).
Most AFCIs have their ground fault trip set at 30 to 50 mA and are not suitable for use where GFCIs are required. There are AFCIs that have the ground fault trip set at 5 mA and those can be used where GFCIs are required. Don
#53045 - 06/16/0510:12 AMRe: AFCI and GFCI threshold
Call me a "doubting Thomas," but I am still cynical as regards AFCI products. Without regard to what the mfr claims, and considering the economy of GFCI devices, I would prefer to have a GFI receptacle where GFI protection is required. The AFCI, however, has to be in (or real close) to the panel- which may be nowhere near the receptacle. Leads to a game of "hide and seek."
The code may require AFCI's, and the mfrs may claim wonders for them, but I will only tolerate them until there's some more of a track record for them.
In fairness, my cynicism is partly inspired by the "bait and switch" campaign pulled by the mfrs in getting these things into the NEC. That, however, is another thread.
#53046 - 06/16/0511:42 AMRe: AFCI and GFCI threshold
The more I install them the more I like them. I believe I like them due to the gfi built into them. What I think I now see is what a great idea it would have been to require "coordinated ground fault circuit protection " on general purpose lighting and receptacle branch circuits all along since gfi's first were developed. When I say coordinated I mean like this - say for instance ground fault protection set at 200 milliamps at the service, 50 milliamps at branch circuit breakers, and a 5 milliamp requirement at all the current required places. I think any real fire stopping attibuted to ark fault breakers is because of the gfi portion of the device . The Industry would have been better served to go about this as a ground fault protection issue, rather than a promise of reducing fires which may or may not happen, but at least there would be less fresh fodder for attorney's to mine.
#53050 - 06/18/0502:06 PMRe: AFCI and GFCI threshold
Well, Canadian Sparky, you've identified the very point of controversy there. AFCI's were first advertised as an answer to frayed cords and such. I even saw pics of AFCI receptacles. Then, before their use became mandatory (and parts houses started carrying them), a slight change was made in the code wording, calling for protecting the entire circuit- and the devices disappeared. Now the press releases all spoke of the staple pinching the romex.
At that point, some folks began to feel they had been misled as to the purpose of the AFCI.
In the latest code (2005), there is a provision for using a device mounted near the panel to protect everything downstream from that point.
Having such a device will accomplish two things- allow you to add AFCI to circuits from an older (or obsolete) panel, and bring down the cost.
GFI Breaker $35 GFI Device $12
AFI Breaker $35 AFI device ?
It has been alleged that a breaker costs so much more than a device only because you have to go to one manufacturer for the breaker, while anybody's device will fit in the box.