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Ideas for AFCI verbiage


Scottpat
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I have never added any AFCI boilerplate type verbiage to my reports, for some reason I just type away as needed when I want to talk about a home needing AFCI protection.

I'm seriously thinking about adding a general comment to my reports electrical section about AFCI and how all homes should have them. I have done this for GFCI outlets/breakers.

Does anyone have any verbiage they would care to share? I like to keep it simple but I also like to be descriptive in what I'm trying to convey.

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Originally posted by Scottpat

I have never added any AFCI boilerplate type verbiage to my reports, for some reason I just type away as needed when I want to talk about a home needing AFCI protection.

I'm seriously thinking about adding a general comment to my reports electrical section about AFCI and how all homes should have them. I have done this for GFCI outlets/breakers.

Does anyone have any verbiage they would care to share? I like to keep it simple but I also like to be descriptive in what I'm trying to convey.

After listening to the comments and opinions (worth what I paid) of many others I believe they are over-valued. This is what I use and may have stolen it from others.

"This home has Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter breakers protecting the bedroom wiring. An arc-fault circuit interrupter is a device intended to provide protection from the effects of arc faults by recognizing characteristics unique to arcing and by functioning to de-energize the circuit when an arc fault is detected. All branch circuits that supply 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms shall be protected by an arc-fault circuit interrupters. This requirement became effective November 1, 2002 as a portion of the National Electrical Code. Most of our localities have yet to enforce this requirement. These breakers were tested by operating the test button on the breaker. I did confirm all receptacles and light fixtures that are required to be protected were de-energized while the AFCI breaker was tripped." (worth what you are paying)

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Yeah, plus there's the fact that the NEC is an extremely conservative document, created by extremely conservative people and it has been criticized by extremely conservative people for being too conservative for adopting the AFCI requirement. How do you justify recommending going beyond THAT?

Cramer has posted some good stats somewhere about how many tens of thousands of innocent Americans die pillow-related deaths each year. The AFCI requirement is supposed to prevent something close to 300 deaths each year. Installing them mightn't hurt anything, but you'd be doing more good by sending your clients instructions on The Proper Use and Care of Pillows.

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I agree with Jim, I have heard the same from Douglas Hansen.

I don't have an issue with reporting on them in a home, what I have been struggling with is when homes don't have them. I know many report their absence just like a GFCI and many don't even mention them in their report.

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Put me in the Morrison camp.

I am not yet convinced there is a benefit.

If they were required to be retrofit into all funky rental apartment buildings, sure, it would be good. If they were required to be installed on all Xmas tree light installations, absolutely.

Why they are necessary in brand new construction still eludes me.

And, the current technology is already obsolete, isn't it? We're already working on the second technology that's supposed to work, right? Hanson said the only reason they are even in the code now is it's a form of beta testing.

Why not wait until they get them right before we start promoting their use.

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Pardon my saying so, but that's incomprehensible InspectorSpeak. Way too many words, way too much jargon. All that talk about phase and amperes and de-energizing and such. You might want to try something like this:

The bedroom circuits are protected by Arc Fault Circuit Interruptors (AFCIs), which are designed to prevent arcing (sparks) that could cause a fire.

Couple years back, when I was still inspecting houses for sale, I took the advice of an electrical guru, and didn't test the AFCIs. I just confirmed their presence. The only meaningful test for an AFCI would require an arc fault.

WJ

No pardon needed. As always your opinion is appreciated, Walter. I have edited the comments I use in my reports as time passes. At times, I add more information in response to request for information for clients. In reflection, the request are seldom. I’ll take your suggestion and consider less to be more. KIS

Would you be willing to expound on the reasons not to confirm the power was not turned off to the required locations?

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The bedroom circuits are protected by Arc Fault Circuit Interruptors (AFCIs), which are designed to prevent arcing (sparks) that could cause a fire.

Another thought.

How accurate is this statement? I can agree with the "designed" comment but not the "protected" portion.

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Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI's) are safety devices designed to help prevent fires caused by electrical arcing and sparking. Since 2002, they have been required to be used in residential bedroom circuits. Older buildings, built before these requirements took effect, may not have this protection. You may want to consider adding AFCI protection if it's not present. Older buildings with ordinary circuit breakers especially may benefit from the added protection against the arcing faults that can occur in aging wiring systems. See Articles 5A.12 and 5C.40 for more information.

If an older house doesn't have AFCI's on the bedroom circuits, I don't make a specific recommendation that they be added. If they are present, I note it in the report. I don't test them in occupied houses. In vacant houses and new construction I test them by pushing the test button and checking the receptacles that that should be protected to be sure they are dead.

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Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Originally posted by charlieb

The bedroom circuits are protected by Arc Fault Circuit Interruptors (AFCIs), which are designed to prevent arcing (sparks) that could cause a fire.

Another thought.

How accurate is this statement? I can agree with the "designed" comment but not the "protected" portion.

Well, I think "protection" is the word most used in the biz. The CPSC uses it. I don't think we need to invent another word.

A person looking for AFCI "verbiage" might just want to adopt the words of the CPSC.

Looky here: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/afci.html

WJ

Is it accurate?

As you are still a licensed button masher -- why is the button on the AFCI not a good test and the button on a GFCI a good test. Or is it?

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I push the test button to make sure that the power goes out in the rooms that it is suppose to protect. I have found rooms where all of the outlets where not on the AFCI breaker.

I have found bedrooms that where not on the breaker and it was label to be on it.

I report the lack of AFCI if the home is in the time they are suppose to be installed.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Someone help me out.

I guess that someone would be me.

Why test them in unoccupied houses, but not in occupied houses?

Because there aren't any computers, alarm clocks, aquariums etc. in unoccupied houses. This goes in the report on an occupied house: The arc fault devices were not tested due to the risk of power interruption to equipment or electronics. You should test these devices before occupying the building.

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Thanks, Walter.

I corresponded with Doug H on another matter a while back. I felt a twinge of guilt for all of the energy he put into providing a clear explanation and giving me what I would need. You've graciously saved him a bit of time in his day.

A few less buttons to mash.

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Hi,

I don't really bother to try and explain an AFCI in the report. I'll report their presence and what circuits they're on but that's about it. However, I do my inspections with the buyer in tow, so it takes me about 30 seconds to explain to the client what those odd looking breakers are for, show how to reset it, and to advise him or her that if one is found tripped to go back and investigate conditions in the bedroom to see what's caused it to trip, and, if they can't figure it out, to call an electrician right away. That 30 seconds on-site saves me dinking around for half an hour trying to figure out how to best explain it in writing.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'm also in the "if it wasn't required it doesn't get mentioned" camp.

Like Mike, I explain existing AFCIs to the client on site. I do have a standard blurb I stick in my report. I also circle and label the test buttons in the photo that shows the service panel disconnect(s). It ain't perfect but, FWIW, this is it...

Comment: Code introduced in 2002 requires circuits serving all bedroom outlets (receptacles, lights, etc) to have Arc-Fault protection. AFCI devices, usually breakers within the main service panel, are modern safety devices designed to sense wiring or appliance problems that could lead to “arcingâ€
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Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Originally posted by charlieb

Originally posted by Scottpat

I have never added any AFCI boilerplate type verbiage to my reports, for some reason I just type away as needed when I want to talk about a home needing AFCI protection.

I'm seriously thinking about adding a general comment to my reports electrical section about AFCI and how all homes should have them. I have done this for GFCI outlets/breakers.

Does anyone have any verbiage they would care to share? I like to keep it simple but I also like to be descriptive in what I'm trying to convey.

After listening to the comments and opinions (worth what I paid) of many others I believe they are over-valued. This is what I use and may have stolen it from others.

"This home has Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter breakers protecting the bedroom wiring. An arc-fault circuit interrupter is a device intended to provide protection from the effects of arc faults by recognizing characteristics unique to arcing and by functioning to de-energize the circuit when an arc fault is detected. All branch circuits that supply 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms shall be protected by an arc-fault circuit interrupters. This requirement became effective November 1, 2002 as a portion of the National Electrical Code. Most of our localities have yet to enforce this requirement. These breakers were tested by operating the test button on the breaker. I did confirm all receptacles and light fixtures that are required to be protected were de-energized while the AFCI breaker was tripped." (worth what you are paying)

Pardon my saying so, but that's incomprehensible InspectorSpeak. Way too many words, way too much jargon. All that talk about phase and amperes and de-energizing and such. You might want to try something like this:

The bedroom circuits are protected by Arc Fault Circuit Interruptors (AFCIs), which are designed to prevent arcing (sparks) that could cause a fire.

Couple years back, when I was still inspecting houses for sale, I took the advice of an electrical guru, and didn't test the AFCIs. I just confirmed their presence. The only meaningful test for an AFCI would require an arc fault.

WJ

I only trip AFCIs in vacant homes and then go and check to see if all bedroom lighting, smokies, and receptacles are now out. I know this isn't a functionality test, but rather to see what is connected to these devices. I still sometimes see hardwired bedroom smokies still powered after the AFCI is tripped.

I explain to the client what the devices are for and when there were generally required in most areas, although this varies depending upon where the home is located.

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I still sometimes see hardwired bedroom smokies still powered after the AFCI is tripped.

Wait a minute, aren't hardwired smokes supposed to be on a dedicated circuit and interconnected, so that if one goes off they all go off? If they are on the bedroom arc fault they would all fail to go off in the case of an electrical fire.

Around here hard wired smokes are only required in multi family dwellings of 3 or more units and must be on the common area service. That way if only one unit is occupied all the smokes are still live.

Tom

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Latecoming; sorry.

I'm not sure its reasonable to upgrade an "older" home with AFCI's. You may be protecting something that's not supposed to be protected (until the 2008 is adopted.)

Or to put it another way: AFCI's installed now just protect the bedrooms. If a guy installs an AFCI breaker in an older place, that circuit is probably going to more places than the bedrooms.

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