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    Originally posted by kwired View Post
    Over stapling shouldn't happen if any care is taken during installation. Even if it still happens, GFCI (a technology many trust a lot more) will trip if a fault between either conductor and another path occurs. Rodent activity is not something an AFCI is designed to protect from, conditions can result that may trip AFCI, GFCI or even regular thermal-mag function though. I've seen nearly bare NM cables from rodent activity, as long as nothing touches something it shouldn't they can exist for some time with no noticeable troubles.

    If insurance industry was the primary lobbying party for AFCI requirements, why don't we see discounts for having them?

    AFCI started out as an idea from CPSC, they told the manufacturers to make something to address this, and it has been manufacturer control over them ever since. Once they finally came up with a product that sort of worked, they wanted to sell it whether it was truly ready or not, and start recovering what they had put into research and development. Then when they made improvements to what they told us was the right product in the beginning, they put dates in NEC because they weren't quite ready to release those improved products, but didn't want to wait another three years before next code cyce would make us start to use them. The manufacturers had to have a lot of clout involved in the code making process to get their way like they did, and $$ is what drives the manufacturing more than anything else. If you get deeply involved in code making and listing process, whether good or bad for everyone else, it means $$ for them.

    There may be some good in AFCI products, but the technology was forced into codes and listing standards even if it wasn't ready for the rest of the world, and was done for the $$ more so than general public interest.
    Can anyone address the issue with the code requirements for using an AFCI receptacle? Mainly, the requirement that they must be used with a circuit breaker that has been approved for use with the AFCI receptacle. Until Leviton began to manufacture panels and circuit breakers recently, there was no circuit breaker manufacturer that identified their breaker for use with an AFCI receptacle. Of course, receptacle manufacturers did not make circuit breakers and circuit breaker manufacturers did not make receptacles. So...who was going to take on the liability of another manufacturer? None. Can't use an AFCI receptacle unless a receptacle manufacturer, such as Leviton states that their circuit breakers are approved for use with AFCI receptacle. I have not researched whether Leviton makes such a statement regarding the use of AFCI receptacles with their c/b's. Then.... inspectors are supposed to measure the distance of the circuit from the panel? Right!

    I still believe that AFCI c/b's do detect faults that 1950's c/b's cannot. Rodent damaged wires are not a concern until a connection is made between conductors, probably by the rodent or rodents that chewed the wire to begin with. A 1950's technology c/b wouldn't shut the circuit off even if the critter was crispy. I've seen demonstrations at electrical trade shows where a broken paper clip is inserted into a receptacle protected by a regular circuit breaker. The paper clip turns cherry red and the c/b never kicks. Same demo with an AFCI, c/b trips immediately. Trickery?

    I have also tripped the AFCI c/b's in my own house intentionally and they work as advertised. Of course I am now wondering if intentionally tripping an AFCI to save walking the three flights of stairs to shut the breaker off so I can safely work on the circuit actually damages the AFCI breaker or circuit wiring.

    I've read that there is no definitive test device to ensure that the AFCI actually works and the testers that are available can actually damage the circuit thereby creating liability for the inspector using the supposed AFCI tester. This thread has caused me to question the viability of AFCI's despite the fact that I have seen evidence of them working as advertised. I perform over 1500 electrical inspections per year for the past 16 years and have yet to encounter an AFCI c/b that did not function and/or caused a fire.

    Having made that statement, I have also returned to properties that I previously inspected observing AFCI c/b's were installed as per code requirement only to find that the breakers are no longer in the panel. I cannot prove who is responsible for this phenomenon but I'm wondering if electrician's that read this forum take them out after I depart the premises. In this thread, the consensus of opinion appears to be that many are skeptical of their effectiveness. Actually, I suspect that the tenants remove them because the local pawn shop has AFCI circuit breakers for sale.

    So...as with many code requirements, inspectors will continue to enforce the code so that we can't be sued and the question of their effectivity will remain debatable until definitive proof is published for our perusal.

    Comment


      Originally posted by jap View Post
      Some may mean that literally.

      I've heard some guys argue that if you nail the NM down too tight it will cause an arc fault to trip.

      Even if it doesn't damage the insulation, or, so some may think.

      I've yet to witness doing so, would magically reduce the flow of electrons enough to make such an event occur.


      JAP>
      In the Northeast, where houses and lumber expand and contract with the changes in the weather, an over stapled condition "could" trip the AFCI c/b if the staple creates a path between the line to neutral or line to equipment ground. Haven't seen it occur but theoretically, it could happen.

      Comment


        Originally posted by hbiss View Post
        I'll say it again- the code making panels have representitives who work for the manufacturers and are voting members. This is where all that manipulated data you found came from. We've seen it all before. They used it to help convince the other members to vote with them.

        We ain't just a bunch of hicks here. Some of our members sit on code making panels themselves so we know what goes on.

        One of our members (and a manufacturer's rep) who I believe was a voting member of the CMP that was involved with AFCIs, was so pompus that he was banned from here for a few months. Basically he told us to go screw ourselves if we don't agree with AFCIs. We need to do what they tell us to do and it isn't going to change. Nice.

        Remember one thing, there's a lot of money being made off this if you know what I mean.

        -Hal
        So....like everything else, money makes the world go around and even the CMP's are corrupt?Guess I haven't thought of that before but your statement causes me to reflect upon that fact. It is difficult being an electrical inspector who enforces the code because we are compelled to do so. On the other hand, it is difficult for electrical contractors who adhere to the code as well as requiring them to have the necessary insurances. They will more-than-likely lose a job to a contractor that doesn't comply with the previously reiterated as it is much cheaper to do a job when you can cut corners. Where I am employed, electricians are required to be licensed but I would stand behind the statement that a license doesn't make one a better contractor and not having a license doesn't necessarily constitute a bad contractor. Licenses are only required for work within the City, however; across that imaginary line that is the immediate suburb, no license is required. I don't see the data that reflects a greater incidence of electrical fires in the suburbs so I question the validity of the license requirement. I do see a difference between a conscientious contractor and a hack though. Unfortunately, my employer does not prosecute the more than 50% of electrical work performed by unlicensed individuals without a permit and an inspection. I am leaning toward the elimination of licenses because it is ridiculous that within the state, there is no reciprocity between municipalities and that practice facilitates the company that proctors the test from Maine to Miami to be financially successful. Why is it necessary for a contractor to possess a license from city to city within the same state or from state to state for that matter when the same company gives that test? I appreciate the contributions of persons on this forum because it does often cause me to look at things in a different perspective. It's just sad that I am cognizant that even though I attempt to perform in a professional manner, I am now aware that almost everything is corrupt. Time to retire.

        Comment


          Originally posted by jap View Post
          Some may mean that literally.

          I've heard some guys argue that if you nail the NM down too tight it will cause an arc fault to trip.

          Even if it doesn't damage the insulation, or, so some may think.

          I've yet to witness doing so, would magically reduce the flow of electrons enough to make such an event occur.


          JAP>
          I've heard that before, don't believe it one bit. If it damages insulation, 120 volts isn't high enough to arc without some help from other contaminant within the cable sheath.

          Some of us were smart enough to use plastic strap type staples long before this AFCI thing came along, and found it did help lessen some problems, and even used "stacker style" straps when securing multiple cables so that one doesn't have as much of a chance of driving the strap in too far and causing such issues.
          I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

          Comment


            Originally posted by nysprkdude View Post
            Pull out the cord of a running vacuum cleaner in the dark and tell everyone what you see. I believe it's called an arc.
            That is supposed to be one arc that should not trip the AFCI's. You also have an arc in any switch when you open or close it with a load. Those are all arcs that are not supposed to trigger the AFCI protection.
            I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

            Comment


              Originally posted by nysprkdude View Post
              So....like everything else, money makes the world go around and even the CMP's are corrupt?Guess I haven't thought of that before but your statement causes me to reflect upon that fact. It is difficult being an electrical inspector who enforces the code because we are compelled to do so. On the other hand, it is difficult for electrical contractors who adhere to the code as well as requiring them to have the necessary insurances. They will more-than-likely lose a job to a contractor that doesn't comply with the previously reiterated as it is much cheaper to do a job when you can cut corners. Where I am employed, electricians are required to be licensed but I would stand behind the statement that a license doesn't make one a better contractor and not having a license doesn't necessarily constitute a bad contractor. Licenses are only required for work within the City, however; across that imaginary line that is the immediate suburb, no license is required. I don't see the data that reflects a greater incidence of electrical fires in the suburbs so I question the validity of the license requirement. I do see a difference between a conscientious contractor and a hack though. Unfortunately, my employer does not prosecute the more than 50% of electrical work performed by unlicensed individuals without a permit and an inspection. I am leaning toward the elimination of licenses because it is ridiculous that within the state, there is no reciprocity between municipalities and that practice facilitates the company that proctors the test from Maine to Miami to be financially successful. Why is it necessary for a contractor to possess a license from city to city within the same state or from state to state for that matter when the same company gives that test? I appreciate the contributions of persons on this forum because it does often cause me to look at things in a different perspective. It's just sad that I am cognizant that even though I attempt to perform in a professional manner, I am now aware that almost everything is corrupt. Time to retire.
              I don't know if corrupt is the right term, but they may be wearing blinders at times and not seeing reality. They probably mostly have good intentions
              I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

              Comment


                Originally posted by nysprkdude View Post
                I've seen demonstrations at electrical trade shows where a broken paper clip is inserted into a receptacle protected by a regular circuit breaker. The paper clip turns cherry red and the c/b never kicks. Same demo with an AFCI, c/b trips immediately. Trickery?
                Think about that. The paper clip is just a resistive load. Some breakers trip before others will. SQ D breakers, for example, are made with a trip curve that will trip before most other manufacturers breakers. Federal Pacific will never have tripped and the paper clip would have burned in half. So this has NOTHING to do with the AFCI function, just how sensitive they have the over current set.

                Originally posted by nysprkdude View Post
                I have also tripped the AFCI c/b's in my own house intentionally and they work as advertised. Of course I am now wondering if intentionally tripping an AFCI to save walking the three flights of stairs to shut the breaker off so I can safely work on the circuit actually damages the AFCI breaker or circuit wiring.
                HOW did you trip them??

                Originally posted by nysprkdude View Post
                I've read that there is no definitive test device to ensure that the AFCI actually works and the testers that are available can actually damage the circuit thereby creating liability for the inspector using the supposed AFCI tester. This thread has caused me to question the viability of AFCI's despite the fact that I have seen evidence of them working as advertised. I perform over 1500 electrical inspections per year for the past 16 years and have yet to encounter an AFCI c/b that did not function and/or caused a fire.
                I don't know about damage, but the only legal way to test an AFCI breaker is by pushing the test button.

                Originally posted by nysprkdude View Post
                Having made that statement, I have also returned to properties that I previously inspected observing AFCI c/b's were installed as per code requirement only to find that the breakers are no longer in the panel. I cannot prove who is responsible for this phenomenon but I'm wondering if electrician's that read this forum take them out after I depart the premises. In this thread, the consensus of opinion appears to be that many are skeptical of their effectiveness. Actually, I suspect that the tenants remove them because the local pawn shop has AFCI circuit breakers for sale.
                No, I know of no one here who would risk liability and their license by removing AFCI breakers. As long as there is Home Depot, you tube and handy men this can happen without our help. Just like you, we have to deal with them like it or not. If you find them replaced with regular breakers I would take that as pretty good evidence that there was a problem with them because nobody is going to pay money to remove something that isn't broke. And we're not skeptical, we know. Scrap dealer maybe, not a pawn shop.

                Originally posted by nysprkdude View Post
                So...as with many code requirements, inspectors will continue to enforce the code so that we can't be sued and the question of their effectivity will remain debatable until definitive proof is published for our perusal.
                And we will have to reluctantly comply with the requirements also for the same reasons.

                -Hal

                Comment


                  [COLOR=#333333] Originally Posted by nysprkdude
                  I've seen demonstrations at electrical trade shows where a broken paper clip is inserted into a receptacle protected by a regular circuit breaker. The paper clip turns cherry red and the c/b never kicks. Same demo with an AFCI, c/b trips immediately. Trickery?


                  [/COLOR]
                  [COLOR=#333333]Think about that. The paper clip is just a resistive load. Some breakers trip before others will. SQ D breakers, for example, are made with a trip curve that will trip before most other manufacturers breakers. Federal Pacific will never have tripped and the paper clip would have burned in half. So this has NOTHING to do with the AFCI function, just how sensitive they have the over current set.

                  [/COLOR][COLOR=#ff0000]Square D used to have demonstration setup that did pretty much the same thing before AFCI's existed. QO and Homeline 15 and 20 amp single pole breakers have low magnetic trip settings and the reason they tripped before burning up the test wire. They do make a "high magnetic" version of those breakers for the occasional application where you have motor or something that won't hold when starting. If you placed a two or three pole breaker on that test setup it may burn the wire off as well, those don't have as low of magnetic trip as the single pole 15 and 20's have. [/COLOR]

                  [COLOR=#333333]
                  Originally Posted by nysprkdude
                  I have also tripped the AFCI c/b's in my own house intentionally and they work as advertised. Of course I am now wondering if intentionally tripping an AFCI to save walking the three flights of stairs to shut the breaker off so I can safely work on the circuit actually damages the AFCI breaker or circuit wiring.


                  [/COLOR]
                  [COLOR=#333333]HOW did you trip them??
                  [/COLOR][COLOR=#ff0000]
                  I have same question. There are many current patterns that the AFCI has to respond to, no easy to use in the field tester is going to assure it will trip on all the possibilities, even the test button on the device isn't going to assure us of that, though I don't know exactly what it does when you press it, probably just the final trip routine of the process I would imagine. [/COLOR]

                  [COLOR=#333333]
                  Originally Posted by nysprkdude
                  I've read that there is no definitive test device to ensure that the AFCI actually works and the testers that are available can actually damage the circuit thereby creating liability for the inspector using the supposed AFCI tester. This thread has caused me to question the viability of AFCI's despite the fact that I have seen evidence of them working as advertised. I perform over 1500 electrical inspections per year for the past 16 years and have yet to encounter an AFCI c/b that did not function and/or caused a fire.


                  [/COLOR]
                  [COLOR=#333333]I don't know about damage, but the only legal way to test an AFCI breaker is by pushing the test button.[/quote][/COLOR][COLOR=#ff0000]Same here, I will say there have been people that set up glowing connection tests, one of the bigger concerns when it comes to permanent wiring starting a fire, and they don't detect that, or at least not until things deteriorated to a point you may already have a fire.[/COLOR]
                  I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by nysprkdude View Post
                    So....like everything else, money makes the world go around and even the CMP's are corrupt?
                    Money is a great corrupter, especially when it's being made in vast quantities coupled with immense power. It's my belief that money and profit motivation have utterly corrupted the code making process, which is why I say that manufacturers should be excluded from the process and be limited to an arms length advisory role only.

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by ActionDave View Post
                      Everybody that defends AFCIs compares them to GFCIs.

                      GFCIs trip when there is a five millamp fault to ground.

                      What makes an AFCI trip?
                      I don't like AFCI's

                      And would not defend them, in fact spend more time than I like apologizing for them
                      Think for yourself, while its still somewhat legal!
                      Clarkesville, Georgia

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by readydave8 View Post
                        I don't like AFCI's

                        And would not defend them, in fact spend more time than I like apologizing for them
                        "I do not like them, Sam-I-Am!"

                        Agreed. Unfortunately, apologizing for them is a form of defending them.
                        Master Electrician
                        Electrical Contractor
                        Richmond, VA

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by LarryFine View Post
                          "I do not like them, Sam-I-Am!"

                          Agreed. Unfortunately, apologizing for them is a form of defending them.
                          He is apologizing because he has a code to follow whether he agrees with it or not. No different than saying sorry I have to charge sales tax or I may get in trouble
                          I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by hbiss View Post
                            Think about that. The paper clip is just a resistive load. Some breakers trip before others will. SQ D breakers, for example, are made with a trip curve that will trip before most other manufacturers breakers. Federal Pacific will never have tripped and the paper clip would have burned in half. So this has NOTHING to do with the AFCI function, just how sensitive they have the over current set.

                            [COLOR=#ff0000]I have an affinity for Square D panels myself and when I was a contractor, I would only install Square D. ITE, Murray, Siemens, FPE, Bulldog, etc. I've seen many instances where the circuit conductors burned the insulation and jacket off or BX wiring that started fires where these breakers did not trip. Anytime that you have a circuit breaker that is 1950's technology, where it has been sitting in a damp basement for any length of time, the interior components are corroded in such a manner that prevents the breaker from performing. I have encountered Square D breakers in the same condition that still functioned. I work in an area where many of the houses are poorly maintained. Houses are cheap here. Investors from all over the world buy them and hire property management companies to maintain them. Most don't maintain and they will use a band aid approach to problems until it gets to a point that they command intervention. Even then, their go-to contractors are unlicensed and cannot obtain a permit so no inspection will ever occur until the problems become so severe, there is either a fire or they eventually call a licensed electrician.[/COLOR]



                            HOW did you trip them??

                            [COLOR=#ff0000]With the $200 AFCI tester that I have that others have argued does not actually "test" but kicks the Square D circuit breaker. Admittedly, I have also tripped them by grounding the line to the grounded box. Not the best way but again I mention the three flights of stairs.
                            [/COLOR]


                            I don't know about damage, but the only legal way to test an AFCI breaker is by pushing the test button.

                            [COLOR=#ff0000]That is what I continue to read in this and other code forums. Many indicate that the tester can actually cause damage. I haven't observed this but with the number of poorly maintained houses that I inspect, I have discontinued using the tester I purchased just in case the conjecture is true.[/COLOR]



                            No, I know of no one here who would risk liability and their license by removing AFCI breakers. As long as there is Home Depot, you tube and handy men this can happen without our help. Just like you, we have to deal with them like it or not. If you find them replaced with regular breakers I would take that as pretty good evidence that there was a problem with them because nobody is going to pay money to remove something that isn't broke. And we're not skeptical, we know. Scrap dealer maybe, not a pawn shop.

                            [COLOR=#ff0000]Unfortunately, with over 2500 vacant Zombie properties in this city coupled with a high poverty rate, desperate people will steal and sell anything that they can. Copper plumbing is a big target and when that is gone or replaced with PEX, they will actually cut the branch circuit wiring exposed in the basement. Encountering these circumstances repeatedly has taught me that people without money will steal anything including that which is nailed down. I have had many occurrences where people come home from work to find that their electricity is off. Subsequently, they learn from the utility that their meter has been stolen. The utility here requires an inspection before they will replace the stolen meter. Hard working people living in poor neighborhoods are now subject to not only going several days without power but also have to pay for a permit to facilitate the required inspection to get another electric meter, presently $70. In essence, they get to pay an insurance policy for the utility. If anything of an electrical nature occurs after the power is restored, the utility has no liability and the inspector can only be held liable if it can be proven that we knew of a defect but approved of it anyway.

                            The next question will be "why do people steal electrical meters?" Because there is a market for them. They sell for around $20. Tenants that are home all day know when their meter will be read. After it is read, replace the assigned meter with the stolen meter and you can go 3 weeks or more with that stolen meter before they think the utility will read again and they switch back to the assigned meter. This results in a 75% discount or so. It usually takes the utility several months before they notice that the electrical usage is substantially lower than the historical usage and they send security personnel out to investigate "off cycle." The utility has 500,000 customers and only three security inspectors. That is why we have some of the highest electrical rates in the nation.

                            It would literally take me hours to reiterate the numerous ways that people steal electricity.[/COLOR]



                            And we will have to reluctantly comply with the requirements also for the same reasons.

                            -Hal
                            [COLOR=#ff0000]It's actually quite disturbing to realize what can occur subsequent to our inspection. When people ask "how long is your inspection good for?" My response is "until my vehicle pulls away." It is a daily concern as an inspector as often, a licensed electrician is hired to change the service as it is somewhat more difficult to do this illegally but not impossible. After we inspect and approve the service, it is not unusual for an unlicensed person to rewire an entire house or multi-family building. No license means no permit and no inspection. Remember, many of these properties are owned by out of town investors. The property managers with less integrity will pass on the charges as if everything was performed as required but in many cases, only the service change was performed in accordance with the requirements. We return to these properties on a routine basis when the electricity is turned off for theft or non-payment which also requires an inspection and commonly discover that the premises was rewired.

                            My apologies for the long answers but it is cathartic to get these things out in the open because being an electrical inspector in an area such as this is worrisome to say the least. [/COLOR]

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by hbiss View Post
                              I know of no one here who would risk liability and their license by removing AFCI breakers. -Hal

                              Period.

                              And,

                              If you want to argue with us about that, then just consider us a bunch of pushovers if calling us that makes you feel any better.


                              JAP>

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by nysprkdude View Post
                                Pull out the cord of a running vacuum cleaner in the dark and tell everyone what you see. I believe it's called an arc.
                                It is an Arc, but, not an Arc Fault.

                                JAP>

                                Comment

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