Double pole arc fault breakers

Duncan8943

Member
Location
Lexington
I am working on a 12 unit building that is for assisted living. The building is classified as residential. Each unit will have either 2 or 3 PTAC units for heating and cooling. The PTAC units require a 240VAC 20A circuit. I can buy these breakers for ~$100 each. The 26 breakers for PTACs and the other living area breakers will cost the owner about ~$4,000. Does anyone know of something that I missed in the code or an alternative to buying the $2,600 worth of breakers. Thanks.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
I am working on a 12 unit building that is for assisted living. The building is classified as residential. Each unit will have either 2 or 3 PTAC units for heating and cooling. The PTAC units require a 240VAC 20A circuit. I can buy these breakers for ~$100 each. The 26 breakers for PTACs and the other living area breakers will cost the owner about ~$4,000. Does anyone know of something that I missed in the code or an alternative to buying the $2,600 worth of breakers. Thanks.
Have you priced buying full load centers as a package just to get the breakers? If you do not have access to discounts from the manufacturer getting a full package can be very attractive, even if you just throw away the panel itself.
If you need a few different sized breakers in a panel, swap out the packaged size for what you need, buying just those separately.

Now, that assumes that you can find a package deal that includes AFCI breakers.....
 

Duncan8943

Member
Location
Lexington
I've never seen a package that included AFCI breakers. I was looking for a higher amperage double pole with the idea that I could put several PTAC units into a subpanel. The only downfall is that all of the PTAC units would be shut down if one created an arc fault event.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
I've never seen a package that included AFCI breakers. I was looking for a higher amperage double pole with the idea that I could put several PTAC units into a subpanel. The only downfall is that all of the PTAC units would be shut down if one created an arc fault event.
You are correct that an upstream AFCI, just like and upstream GFCI, would be considered as protecting the branch circuits downstream of it. But since there is no possibility to coordinate the AFCI protection and since AFCI nuisance trips are notorious, you may end up spending more money troubleshooting later than you save on the breakers. And that is in addition to the nuisance to the affected "innocent" tenants.
At least if you limit the subpanel to PTAC units only, there would not be the problem of receptacle-connected appliances causing AFCI trips.
 

shortcircuit2

Senior Member
Location
South of Bawstin
I've never seen a package that included AFCI breakers. I was looking for a higher amperage double pole with the idea that I could put several PTAC units into a subpanel. The only downfall is that all of the PTAC units would be shut down if one created an arc fault event.
I do NOT know of any available higher amperage AFCI breakers.
 

rcarroll

Senior Member
I am working on a 12 unit building that is for assisted living. The building is classified as residential. Each unit will have either 2 or 3 PTAC units for heating and cooling. The PTAC units require a 240VAC 20A circuit. I can buy these breakers for ~$100 each. The 26 breakers for PTACs and the other living area breakers will cost the owner about ~$4,000. Does anyone know of something that I missed in the code or an alternative to buying the $2,600 worth of breakers. Thanks.
I don't know if I'm missing something, but, where is AFCI required for a 240 V circuit:?
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
I don't know if I'm missing something, but, where is AFCI required for a 240 V circuit:?
Good point, as long as it is not an MWBC. But the OP also mentioned "other living area breakers". Those will probably need AFCI, but it may be cheaper to provide that with receptacle units.
Duncan8943: This is initial construction rather than remodel, right?
 

rcarroll

Senior Member
Good point, as long as it is not an MWBC. But the OP also mentioned "other living area breakers". Those will probably need AFCI, but it may be cheaper to provide that with receptacle units.
Duncan8943: This is initial construction rather than remodel, right?
I assumed the 2P breakers are for the PTAC units as the OP quoted a $100 price.
 

Duncan8943

Member
Location
Lexington
Good point, as long as it is not an MWBC. But the OP also mentioned "other living area breakers". Those will probably need AFCI, but it may be cheaper to provide that with receptacle units.
Duncan8943: This is initial construction rather than remodel, right?
I don't have the code book with me as I am typing this. I was thinking that all outlets in the living room/bedroom areas had to be AFCI protected. Does the code state 120 VAC circuits only?
 
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