There is a full page ad in the IAEI magazine from Leviton trying to get us to change the 2005 rule about AFCI devices. They want to be able to install them in the bedroom without the <6' and metal raceway rule. Thoughts?
When they started this AFCI stuff a while back, there were supposed to be devices avialable, as well as breakers. ('96 code?) That never happened, and it seems the whole thing got conveluted to the point where they (Manufacturers) were lobbying to have everything under the sun AFCI from the source at the CB, and ALL of them. (But not the main, or feeds, just every branch, maximizing special CB count.) 2002 NEC wants all outlets (Lighting etc.) AFCI'ed for "protection of the entire branch circuit." Not sure a "Device" could do that? Don't know about 2005 wording...
gfretwell, What "<6' and metal raceway rule" apply to AFCI's? (Guess I need to dig up that 2005 link...)
[This message has been edited by e57 (edited 12-26-2005).]
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
I think Leviton should get their way on this one. It does make more sense to have the AFCI on the first outlet in the bedroom it controls. Perhaps they could even mount it outside in the hall if they want all wiring IN the bedroom to be protected but that is not true now. They only protect the "outlets". I can still run all the non-afci protected wire I want if it only serves outlets in other rooms.
I respectfully disagree with you on this one Greg and my reason is this: If the object is to protect the wiring in the building from arc fault it would make sense to me to protect as muchn of the circuit we can, which means keeping the device or breaker as close to the panel as possible. I think a lot of electricians are concerned about nuisance tripping and maybe they are worried about something that is probably not as big a problem as it was at one time. The benefit of arc fault protection fare outweigh any threat of nuisance tripping IMHO.
If you are worried about arcing wire inside the wall then why not say all wire passing through any bedroom connected wall on it's way to another room shall be AFCI protected?
That goes far beyond "is a switch an outlet?"
It has always been my understanding that the arc fault we are protecting against is the lamp cord pinched under the leg of the bed and buried in dust bunnies. Isn't an arc in building wiring supposed to be inside a box?
If you are really saying a piece of Romex, between boxes, will burst into flames, maybe we should all be "chicago" with metal raceways.
George, I cannot fault your desires...but, as I see it, the code should never create a situation where "best" is an enemy of "better."
We were told at the start of all this of the need to protect bedrooms from such things as loose plugs. The code gets edited, and Presto! we're now told we're supposed to be concerned about staples in the attic! Sounds like bait-and-switch to me! Moreover, the code still fails to require- or even reccommend- separate circuits for the bedrooms; yet that is the practical effect of the AFCI requirement.
The biggest problem I have, though, is that the requirement assumes new construction, using a panel that will accept an AFCI. There are many places out there that still have fuses, or panels that are no longer made. There is no practical way to instal AFCI protection should you wish to uograde a circuit, or remodel a room. This is unfortunate; I can add GFI protection to the oldest bathroom- but for a bedroom, I need to do a service change as well as replace all the old wiring. That is an unconscienable burden, and one that most impacts those least able to afford it.
Wouldn't everyone agree that protecting part of the circuit is better than protecting none of it?
As far as that 6-ft rule is concerned, I have yet to see any devices made available. This leaves me with the option of a sub-panel, which, ironically, would not require the use of pipe to feed it.
My final point: the cynic in me suspects that a device will cost a lot less than a panel-specific breaker. Until the panel makers agree to a uniform breaker pattern (that is interchangeable between brands), I will have to doubt their motives.
It has always been my understanding that the arc fault we are protecting against is the lamp cord pinched under the leg of the bed and buried in dust bunnies.
That is what the manufacturers have been trying to tell us since the first AFCI proposal appeared in the ROP for the 96 code. In the 2005 code cycle they finally admitted that they really don't do that job...yet. They have promised that the combination type AFCIs that are required by the 2005 code with an effective date of 1/1/08 will actually do that. No one really knows yet, because there are no combination type AFCIs on the market at this time. Don
Gentlemen: I have to say that perhaps within the infinite wisdom of our State Legislators (NJ), they may have did the electrical trade a 'favor'. The arc fault requirements within the NEC are not adopted here.
At a seminar I attended a few months ago, I started a very heated debate about '....why isn't the lamp cord AFCI protected..????
The debate started with a 'statistic' on the quantity of electrical fires, and how many AFCI will prevent; the 'statistic' seemed to use a 'new' math, as the percentages and numbers did not add up. Needless to say, the final answer was....'maybe in '07 or '08'