I put 2-15A AFCI breakers in a panel yesterday. What exactlly is the reason for only useing them on bedroom circuits? Is this a fire safety reason? and how are they different than a regular breaker? I guess a regular breaker would not trip if an arc was produced. Thanks.
They work by electronically picking up the "arc signature" (voltage/current distortions). I think the "bedroom only" requirement comes from the unique nature of the "occupancy". i.e. for approx 16 hours a day the rooms are not occupied or "supervised", and when they are occupied the occupants are usually unconscious (I have a very boring life -- what a great set-up line though...). During the debate over requiring AFCI's, there were loads of stories about drapes, bedding, etc. hanging in front of receptacles, and catching on fire. Many electrical experts were sharply divided over whether they: worked as advertised; should be required; should be feed through device types vs breaker types, etc. My personal opinion is that they were shoved down the consumers throat by the insurance and manufacturing industries, who had everything to gain and nothing to lose. My personal rant on the subject can be read at the following thread: http://www.mikeholt.com/forum/Forum1/HTML/005799.html (Len Bonosevich)
Len: Nice rant, I'm with you 100%. I would like to look back at this situation in about 10 years, and see what difference these really make. The fact that these things we have now (breakers) only protect against permanent wiring defects and not what 'holly homeowner' plugs in has really got "me undies in a bunch" Jim
The prime focus of trade magazines is making money selling magazines and selling advertising(not necessarily in that order). The freebie zines make it by selling advertising only. The fact that they may provide competent technical information from "experts" is secondary, and only necessary as far as it supports the prime focus.