Afci which circuits first?


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Old 12-29-17, 03:56 PM
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Afci which circuits first?

I would like to install a few afci breakers for safety. Is there any recommendation on which circuits to replace first? Bedroom circuits or circuits with multiple sizes and junctions?
I assume people don't install them for 2 pole circuits like baseboards, ranges, etc.? And if si, why not? I assume any 240v circuit can arc just the same as a 120?
 
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Old 12-29-17, 04:11 PM
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I'd put them on the circuits where I think the fire is going to start.

I assume people don't install them for 2 pole circuits like baseboards, ranges, etc.? And if so, why not?
Because it's not required by the NEC in the USA. And electricians for some reason always strive to do the bare minimum that's required by code. If a DIY-er does something in the interest of safety that's not required by code (e.g. GFCI protecting a lighting run in an unfinished space) then he gets made fun of.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 05:38 PM
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And electricians for some reason always strive to do the bare minimum that's required by code. If a DIY-er does something in the interest of safety that's not required by code (e.g. GFCI protecting a lighting run in an unfinished space) then he gets made fun of.
What an unfair brush you paint with. Did you ever consider that is only what the contractor or homeowner will pay for? I know many that go beyond the minimums required.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 06:23 PM
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If one contractor gives a price that is higher then the next contractor, most people will go with the less expensive guy. Both contractors will meet code and that is all anybody expects. Many people freak out when the find an AFCI/GFCI breaker is about 10 times the cost of a standard breaker.

If you want to go above and beyond the NEC that is fine. IMO is can be a waste of money that is better spent elsewhere.

@Qwertyjjj - The way the NEC rolled out AFCI breakers was it started with requiring them in bedrooms (2008) Then it was all rooms except kitchens and bathrooms (2011) Next came all rooms except bathrooms (2014) Now it is all habitable rooms (2017) You could follow the same pattern.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 06:56 PM
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...I assume people don't install them for 2 pole circuits like baseboards, ranges, etc.? And if si, why not? I assume any 240v circuit can arc just the same as a 120?...
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There are still many professionals that recognize the AFCI technology is iffy at best, and troublesome in the meantime. Many will purposely not install them anywhere not required to. Some jurisdictions recognize this and have local amendments to exempt AFCI requirements from their otherwise adoption of the NEC.

So don't take lack of AFCI as any kind of indication of short-cutting. I wouldn't put them anywhere on my house. I've replaced far too many of them for customers the past ten years for troublesome nuisance-tripping. They get better with each generation, but it is a controversial requirement.
 
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Old 12-30-17, 05:12 AM
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Very nicely stated pcboss
 
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Old 12-31-17, 10:44 AM
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Very nicely stated pcboss

Ditto .............................................
 
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Old 12-31-17, 10:50 AM
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Arc fault in a living room in 2008 = absurd waste of money, because house was already safe
3 years later = Suddenly not a waste of money!

What changed? Nothing. Yeah, I get how bidding works. You can't really sell safety. Not that arc faults aren't a scam perpetrated by the fat cats with voting power in the NFPA. You could pick something less controversial like GFCIs and the argument would still hold. It's always lowest common denominator. That's just business. I get it.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 10:59 AM
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The roll out of AFCI devices has always been slow phase in approach similar to GFCI devices. It started in areas where electrical fires were more common according to data collected by insurance companies who were footing the bill for these fire claims. The NFPA's plan all along was to have a house completely protected by AFCI's. Common with new devices, they also had some growing pains with nuisance tripping.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 11:15 AM
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You could pick something less controversial like GFCIs and the argument would still hold.

GFCI protection was most certainly controversial 40 years ago when it was rolled out. Implementation of GFCI protection was also done in phases with the earliest phase being just protecting bathroom and outside receptacles with direct grade access. Not even all outside receptacles had to be protected, just those you could walk up to without climbing steps up to a raised deck or without climbing a ladder. It was another 5 or 6 years later that they finally came out with the GFCI receptacles. at around $20 to $25 each.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 11:32 AM
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OP- It seems the answer to your question is you can do it in phases because fires only happen in phases. Until the NEC requires something, everything is perfectly safe. The fires wait until the next code cycle. The fires also wait until the tech is mature. Until then it's a waste of money.
 
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Old 01-01-18, 05:59 PM
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I think the point is that at any point in time the codes specify the safest methods with existing technology. As time passes technology advances and safer methods are indicated in the codes. The early AFCI breakers protected against only parallel arcing faults, but as technology advanced, the combination AFCI devices were developed to protect against both parallel and series arcing faults. Earlier methods were considered the safest of the time, but as times change, technology advances.
 
 

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