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Let's play - What do you tell the client?


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Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif AFCI_Recall.pdf

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Not seeing many of these anymore, but they are still around. If the test button is blue, whenever the house was built, then the date code needs to be checked. I have found that they can be seen without "denergizing the panel" but the red ink is often very faded and unable to be read with the naked eye. So I take a few close-up photos with my camera. I have always been able to read them that way. The last ones I caught, back in May (listed as a 2005 house), I couldn't make up my mind if I was seeing CN or GN, but as both were recalled, no matter.

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tn_2013111332029_recalledafcis.jpg

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Type BRAF AFCI's are a first generation AFCI's. The combination (parallel and series together in one device) type breaker came later.

BRAF breakers detect only parallel arcs (between a conductors). Not allowed anymore in favor of the combination type.

I wouldn't recommend replacement, just mention what it is and what's missing in it then leave to the buyer to do what he wants. Them devices are awfully expensive.

Marc

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Yep,

So, how do you frame that recommendation?

OT - OF!!!

M.

I don't have my boilerplate handy, but it goes along somewhat like this:

"Inside your main electrical panelboard, arc-fault circuit breakers are installed (those ones we looked at with the test-buttons). Arc-fault breakers help prevent electrical fires, but the arc-fault breakers in this panel are the older, "branch-feeder" types, and these older breakers don't offer as much protection as the newer style, "combination" types of arc-fault breakers. I strongly recommend you have an electrician replace these old, branch-feeder types of arc-fault breakers with the newer and more reliable/safer combination types of arc-fault breakers."

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So do you routinely recommend upgrading standard breakers for AFCI breakers? I know there are continual advancements in technology but where do you draw the line in recommending replacements. Leaving the recalled item question, is there anything inherently unsafe about the older generation of AFCI breakers or is it a case of safe, safer, safest?

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So do you routinely recommend upgrading standard breakers for AFCI breakers? I know there are continual advancements in technology but where do you draw the line in recommending replacements.

No, but I've heard the NEC is changing (or has changed) to that very requirement; all breakers in a panelboard will soon have to be AFCI types.

Leaving the recalled item question, is there anything inherently unsafe about the older generation of AFCI breakers or is it a case of safe, safer, safest?

Probably the latter, but upgrading is a prudent recommendation IMHO. 'Course, I wouldn't fault anyone what-so-ever who doesn't recommend such.

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Anyone have documented statistics about the effectiveness of AFCI devices?

I know it is hard to prove that a fire didn't happen but I would think that after a decade or more of devices being required that there would be some sort of study proving that these expensive devices are or are not really doing the job.

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I address it this way:

Obsolete AFCI Protection

Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are special electrical devices that protect against arcs (electricity that jumps across a small gap and that reaches a temperature that's high enough to start a fire). This service panel is equipped with <#> AFCI breakers, but they're the older, "branch/feeder," type and are no longer permitted in new construction. They're significantly less effective than the newer, "combination," type, which can detect a greater range of arcing conditions and react to a lower level of fault current. To learn more about why these AFCI breakers are considered obsolete, read this article: www.codecheck.com/cc/ccimages/PDFs/AFCIsComeOfAge.pdf

1. Ask your electrician to replace the existing branch/feeder AFCI breakers with newer combination AFCI breakers.

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