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jzr756

mandatory AFCI's in service panel upgrade

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Hello all

Are Arc fault circuit interrupters required for individual branch circuits such as the dishwasher,garbage disposal,refrigerator,microwave,range hood,forced air unit,A/C unit,and garage door opener? I'm familiar with a bit of the code which states some thing to the effect "in all habitable rooms" including dining rooms,living rooms closets etc.But I can find nothing which details these particular circuits.Also is a electric dryer circuit a mandatory requirement or an optional item? I made the mistake of purchasing a rather small 200 amp service panel together with several combination AFCI's.

Sincere thanks Mark

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The AFCI requirement is based on where the circuit serves, not what the circuit serves. Here is the text from the 2011 draft of the NEC.

210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for

Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-

ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling

unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors,

libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms,

closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected

by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combinationtype,

installed to provide protection of the branch circuit

The electric dryer would not need AFCI as it is not 120 volts.

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I made the mistake of purchasing a rather small 200 amp service panel together with several combination AFCI's.

Sincere thanks Mark

200 amps is small?

Seriously? Why? Not enough to supply power to more than two grow farms at the same time?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I made the mistake of purchasing a rather small 200 amp service panel together with several combination AFCI's.

Sincere thanks Mark

200 amps is small?

Seriously? Why? Not enough to supply power to more than two grow farms at the same time?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Perhaps he is referring to the number of locations on the bus bars.

Marc

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The panel I purchased is Cutler-Hammer 20 space 40 circuit panel I'm trying to use twin style circuit breakers to conserve space.I looked at some in progress new residential construction projects and noticed they are only using AFCI's

that serve the bedrooms, but my local AHJ says every thing except circuits protected by GFCI's.I would rather not have to thow away the equipment I already have.My project is a complete rewire and service panel up grade.

The only item I can think of leaving out is the clothes dryer since gas is available. Thanks again Mark

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If the panel label states 40 circuits that is all you can install. I would exchange the panel for a 40 circuit full size. The breakers are cheaper and you have more options like AFCI and GFI protection.

BTW, a 40 circuit panel is not small. That will be the largest capcity that you will commonly find. Prior to the 08 NEC the limit was 42 circuits. Newer panels would need to be listed for a greater number.

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Jim I considered returning the panel but my big box store does not stock a full size Eaton panel where I can use the AFC's I already have,and I can't return the AFCI's purchased from a HD store closing in 2008. I looked at a Square D 30/40 panel and a Murray 40/40 panel but I would have to purchase all new AFCI's at almost 40.00 ea. the above mentioned panels have a much wider flush mounted foot print.The planning for this project began in '08 at that time the AHJ said AFCI's were only reguired in bed rooms silly me for thinking all things remain the same.Just trying to think of a work around. Any thoughts on leaving out the clothes dryer circuit? Mark

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The big box stores also sell lower quality likeneses of the higher end equipment sold in the real supply houses. Go to an electrical supply house, not the bus depot. Just sayin'.

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Just a thought here. I sometimes see, as way to conserve wire, a subpanel installed in another location. You would supply this subpanel with a correctly sized feeder and a large amperage 240 volt breaker in your main service panel. This gives you plenty of room for full size breakers in both panels, and reduces the number of runs from the service panel, so saves money there.

Depending on the type of upgrade you are taking on here, you may not be required to change all your circuits to the new code requirements. This is info you can obtain from your local authority when you take out the permit, which you definitely need for this type of work. Again, this info can save you headaches and money.

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The AFCI requirement is based on where the circuit serves, not what the circuit serves. Here is the text from the 2011 draft of the NEC.

210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for

Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-

ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling

unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors,

libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms,

closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected

by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combinationtype,

installed to provide protection of the branch circuit

On a side bar: I always recommend installing GFCI on older homes without them. Anyone recommending/considering recommendation of the installation AFCI as well?

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John,Yes, a sub-panel is part of the original plan,it will be located in a attached garage on a far wall away from the fire rated wall which separates the garage from the living space approximately 52 feet away from where the new service panel will be located. I had originally intended to feed a couple of large antiquated Dewalt radial arm saws,a 5 hp.compressor and misc.power tools but I guess If worse came to worse I could may be pick off some additional circuits from the sub-panel and just back track into the house.And yes,all permits were pulled and all according to code.The house is being completely rebuilt the interior of the home was completely gutted the only thing left standing was the exterior shell.It has been a very long and rough road. thanks again Mark

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Follow Jim Port's suggestion about the larger panel. You will not regret it.

Use the panel you have now as a sub panel in your garage. If you oversize the feeder, your tools will be happier.

Just say no to Home Depot.

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In addition to the expansion of the required locations, the AFCIs must also be "combination" type rather than "branch feeder" types. Cutler-Hammer has been dumping their older branch feeder types onto the market, and if that is what you have, you will not be allowed to use them if the inspector actually pays attention. Of course, we are talking about the same inspector who oversimplified the rule for where AFCIs are required, so he might miss this one. None the less, if they are branch feeder types they will provide nowhere near the added safety of a "combination" type, and you should consider dumping them for that reason alone.

If you buy a Seimens panel, you could also have multiwire circuits on your AFCIs, which can be a good thing for lowering your voltage drop losses and for simplifying the number of home runs. Other brands do not make AFCIs that support multiwire circuits.

Last, I would stay away from Square D (at least the Homeline stuff) because the breakers cover the neutral bar. There are other space issues with a lot of their Homeline stuff.

I concur with everyone else's advice about getting a full 40-slot panel.

Douglas Hansen

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Thank you for all your replies.Well I guess that's the answer.I started looking at some full size panels and Eaton- Cutler- hammer does make one but it is a surface mount style and mine is flush mounted in Stucco I'm worried making the conversion might be a bit involved.

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On a side bar: I always recommend installing GFCI on older homes without them.

We do that here too. Actually, inspectors are required by our new law to recommend a GFCI upgrade in homes without them. That has pretty much eliminated the snarky comments and pushback from agents about "grandfathering" and "it wasn't required by code." Inspectors can simply state, "Hey, don't unload on me. I'm required by state law to recommend that those circuits be upgraded. If you want to take issue with that, take it up with the state licensing folks."

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I have to touch on this one last time. The home I inspected today was built in the mid 50's. The service panel was recently upgraded(completely swapped), are AFCI's required? What about an inspection sticker?

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I have to touch on this one last time. The home I inspected today was built in the mid 50's. The service panel was recently upgraded(completely swapped), are AFCI's required? What about an inspection sticker?

Robert, was the service size increased? That would automatically require a permit to show the power company.

In my area, if the permit for an upgrade was pulled by an established electrician, the electrical authority might give it his blessing without a visual inspection. That's how it works here. Too busy to come out for a small job, and "those guys do OK work", so the permit get a stamp.

Again this is for my area, but I understand that a change of the panel would not require the various branch circuits to be brought up to the new code requirements.

For example, I often see a 50's house with a newer panel but with the old undersized 3 wire feeder to the kitchen range. I will recommend a new cable to the stove, but the code authority does not require it.

www.allsafehome.ca

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I have to touch on this one last time. The home I inspected today was built in the mid 50's. The service panel was recently upgraded(completely swapped), are AFCI's required? What about an inspection sticker?

In this area when the panel has to be upgraded it is typical that the service wire to the house has to be upgraded because it is old, undersized, and weathered. The utility company requires that a permit be pulled before they will swap out the service wiring to the house.

Sometimes I will see a new 200 ampere panel installed but the main wire remains undersized because the owner/electrician ( or "Uncle Louie" that knows all about electrical systems) installed the new panel without a permit.

If the panel is new I advise my clients to get the documentation (proof of permit and inspection approval) for the work.

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