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240-volt AFCI breaker

Jerry Simon

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It's been a few months since I've researched this topic. Last I looked, Eaton / Cutler-Hammer was still peddling their branch-feeder style AFCIs that were rated for multiwire circuits. They haven't been allowed by code since 1/1/2008, but that hasn't stopped them from selling them. They do not meet the requirement that AFCIs comply to the UL "combination" standard.

Those first generation Cutler Hammer AFCIs were designed for multiwire circuits and include a neutral. Because AFCIs also have ground-fault detection, you can't take 2 separate ordinary AFCIs and apply them to a multiwire circuit. In fact, most of the reported incidences of "nuisance tripping" in multiwire circuits are a result of neutrals getting connected somewhere down the line.

Siemens makes a legitimate 2-pole AFCI that works for multiwire circuits and meets current code. Square D does not make one. General Electric makes a 2-pole AFCI that will work on multiwire circuits, but only because they disabled the ground-fault detection and cut off the pigtailed neutral. Cutler-Hammer just keeps trying to clear their shelves of the old non-code-complying product.

Douglas Hansen

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